Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, children have been spending a lot of time with their families at home. While many churches in the Edmonton diocese are offering livestreamed and pre-recorded services, there has also been a need for resources connecting children to their church families.
When Sarah Alexander’s three children began missing their church and their friends, the Holy Trinity Riverbend parishioner had an idea to deliver virtual Sunday school activity kits to families. She drew inspiration from the teaching kits she had assembled when her church had introduced a formal Sunday school curriculum.
“My kids participate in Sunday school and I wanted to do my part in making it easier on the teachers,” says Sarah who envisioned virtual Sunday school as a means of helping families stay connected through prayer, reading the daily lesson and making a craft.
“Sarah has taken this upon herself and is doing an amazing job!” says the Rev. Rebecca Harris, priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Riverbend.
Sarah assembles the kits with supplies purchased for Sunday school and then delivers them to eight families (a total of 14 children), via a “porch drop-off,” every couple of weeks. Since March 22 she and her family, poised in front of a video camera, have decorated cardboard crosses with bright tissue paper to remind us that Jesus' death on the cross was not the end of the story; made Kleenex holders to remind us that God is with us when we are sad; and baked Resurrection Rolls and created colourful butterflies over the Easter weekend. Other families are invited to complete the Sunday school activity alongside the Alexanders using Zoom.
“We keep the sessions short and kids come and go to grab snacks and show us their favorite toys, etc. around their house,” says Sarah. “We talk about their week and they have a chance to tell us what they have been doing during this time at home. My kids participate in various ways. Zoey and Jackson primarily wander in and out, while Olivia has taken on a "leading" role and helps show the kids how to make the craft for the week.”
Holy Trinity Riverbend families are grateful and appreciative of Sarah’s efforts to maintain a strong connection among the children and their church.
“At a time when normalcy is at a premium, having online Sunday school has been a Godsend,” says Misty Knapik, mother of Shae Knapik. “My six-year-old loves seeing her friends, doing crafts, and having something to look forward to every week. Just goes to show that Christian fellowship is alive and well, even in isolation.”