Monday, 23 March 2015

Schools Easter Service: Frozen

Here's an Easter Service I've just put together with Liz Hollis (a Durham student with me for a few days) for the various schools services we will be having in church this week.

Feel free to use/adapt  if it is helpful!

Frozen: Love Conquers Fear and Death

Opening Song (school bringing)

Show film clip (the bit where Ana stumbles across the ice, nearly frozen, but then swerves away from Christoff to save Elsa)

Get several children to act out the scene:
a.       Hans (with sword)
b.      Christoff (with reindeer soft toy)
c.       Ana
d.      Elsa
e.      Storm! 6+ with strips of blue voile/white flags to wave.

(Storm perform; then Christoff running in slow motion up the aisle from the back; Ana running in slow motion from the altar; hans about to kill Elsa in the middle of the dais.
Ana sees them, diverts from running to Christoof and flings up her arm to stop Hans’ sword.
Storm dies down. Elsa flings arms round Ana.)


Ask the children: Who is showing love? Ask character by character if necessary.
Ask How each character is showing it/what are they doing to show love?

Draw out: Hans just concerned for himself;
                Christoff – running into storm to save Ana, not thinking about his own safety.
                Elsa – forgets her own fears (hence the storm dies down - the snow/ice is an external manifestation of Elsa's fear) when she’s thinking about her grief for Ana/realises how much Ana loves her/realises how much she loves Ana. Ie, isn’t thinking about herself.
                Ana – sacrifices her own chance to live (eg chooses not to run to Christoff) to save Elsa. (Key insight here is that the 'act of true love' that saves Ana is her OWN act of self-sacrifice - not Elsa's hug. She starts to thaw/come back to life almost as soon as she freezes, because her own choice to save Rlsa rather than herself has that redemptive dynamic)

Ask: How is Ana like Jesus here?
Draw out – self sacrifice; death and resurrection.

Bible verse – John 15:13 – ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.

So what? God loves us so much that he was prepared to become human for us and die for us.
-          God’s love is stronger than death and bigger than our fears.
-          Frozen is just a lovely story that helps us feel what this is like, but although the story of Jesus is written in a book and films have been made about it, it isn’t just fiction, its something that really happened. Jesus really did die to save us and that love was so strong that it broke through death itself. This happening in real life was something that was so amazing that people are still telling each other about it 2000 years later.

Prayer: either school do, or:
-thank you God for loving us so much;
-thank you for Jesus showing us that your love is stronger than death and all our fears
- help us to love each other as you loved us
- pray for people living in fear, that your love will surround and save them
- pray for the things we are afraid of, that you will keep us safe.

Final song.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

World Book Day 2016: A Proposal

World Book Day: a day parents (and perhaps especially mums, on whom the job of childcare still falls disproportionately) dread and support in equal measure.

Support, because we love books and want our children to love books. Dread, because so often World Book Day seems to actually be World Costume Day. Its bad enough getting three children into school uniform, breakfasted, teeth cleaned and out of the house in time for school: having to also get them special costumes is often a step too far.

And that's just from my rather privileged middle-class book-loving household perspective: I can only imagine what its like trying to live up to the pressure if you are barely literate yourself, or have no spare money or a dressing up box lying around to source a costume from.

Surely, World Book Day should be primarily about sharing the joy of reading, not the joy of dressing up?

So my proposal for World Book Day 2016 is simple. Let all schools simply open up the doors of their library (or organise a trip to a local library - while we still can). Children can bring in their own book, of course, but not all are fortunate enough to have them, or access to a good range of them.

Let them each choose a book (or books). No telling them what age range they should be picking from, no telling them a comic book or graphic novel doesn't 'count' - let them enjoy free range reading. Let them pick several, start several, abandon them if they don't enjoy one and try another instead.

And then just let them read ALL DAY. Sitting at their desks, lounging in the library, sprawled on the floor. Encourage them to read a whole book, in one go. A short one if necessary. With support if needed. Or part of a longer one - if a child wants to start The Lord of the Rings for goodness sake don't tell them they need to choose a book they can finish in a day!

A whole day, in school, just lounging around reading. Who's in?

(Image from shows children in a school in Laos on the first day of a Sustained Silent Reading programme)