During 2017 the Sunday School ministry of Kansas City First Church elected to incorporate intergenerational efforts between classes of children, youth and adults every “fifth Sunday” as two classes combined on the last Sunday of every month that included five Sundays.
December 31st afforded one last opportunity, so the church elected to round out 2017, and ring in 2018, by gathering in one collected Sunday School class to explore the meaning of Epiphany as part of the Christian Calendar
Sunday School Superintendent Linda Hardin gathered a creative team around her including Dorothy Hahn (who scripted the morning event) Jenny Augustine as emcee, Lynnette Thulin as a teacher, along with Beula Postelwaite and Keith Fitzsimmons who arranged the final “event” around the game show theme of Family Feud.
Jenny Augustine opened the event with a creative introduction to the practice Epiphany around the world. Blending humor, artistry, reflective thought, and music, Augustine lead the gathered community through a singing of the 12 Days of Christmas as well as a thoughtful reflection on the mission of Epiphany.
Ultimately it was Jenny’s enthusiasm and humor that communicated both the meaning of the various customs and also the implicit irony behind some of the customs.
Lynnette Thulin’s lesson focused on basic insights for children around the story of the magi, the three kings who followed the star to discover the Baby Jesus, but also the account of the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Jesus. Lynette invited participants to color and write out implications of different aspects of the stories much like children in her class. The response invited adults and youth to also participate in the meaning of the biblical story.
In addition, several of the youth recounted the biblical and theological underpinnings of the story of the visiting Magi of its implications for our celebration as a part of, and ultimate culmination to, the Christmas season.
The next part of the lesson took a creative turn as Beula and Jim Postelwaite arranged the elaborate staging for the event courtesy the Kansas City District.
Keith Fitzsimmons hosted the Schwarz and Burr families to a friendly game of Family Feud. Questions and game show software provided the backdrop.
But the efforts by both teams included an all too familiar sound.
While a close game the final outcome came down to one fateful question.
Regardless of the outcome of the competition, both families came away winners this morning.
Linda Hardin closed the day by inviting tables to share prayer requests and prayer. Overall the day provided an informative and entertaining introduction to the meaning of Epiphany for everyone gathered. Intergenerational events require more than the gathering of different age levels. Congregations have to be willing to invite a kind of friendship across the generations that allows for mutual learning together. At KCFC, we are fortunate to have a host of creative teachers, and caring participants, that make New Year’s Eve a very special day.