Wanting to pump some meditation and contemplation into the Christmas season for our 3rd-5th graders, we set out a “Silent Night” last Sunday night for CLUB345. CLUB345 is aimed at meeting the changing needs of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month from 5pm-7pm. CLUB345 helps to bridge the gap that preteens feel as they transition from their elementary to teenage years, by using a format similar to a club gathering, but with faith formation subject matter and activities that address their age appropriate needs and issues.
We posted the expectations at the threshold of the Sanctuary and dismissed the students two by two (Jesus never sent out His disciples one at a time) to work independently and in silence. The students were instructed to raise their hands if a question arose and a leader would meet them outside the silent zone to whisper any clarification. Silent zone meant silence.
We had 8 un-numbered stations throughout the pew, chancel, and narthex areas. Various strings of Christmas lights were used to provide space definers and we needed only 3 tables for hard/flat surfaces. The students carried their journals with them (we have a journalling component at every CLUB345 meeting) with the tools to make the journal entries (tape, tissue paper, colored markers, cardstock, ink, air-dry clay, ribbon, etc. I tried to photograph each station, but they didn’t turn out well, so I have posted below the instructions that were set out at each station. We added other visuals to go with the stations like nativities, battery operated votives, and items to add to the station visuals.
Inspiration came from “Living Light was Born One Night: Advent Devotions for Children” written by Arden W. Mead through Creative Communications circa 1996/2006.
After our Silent Night, we had about 20 minutes remaining when we discussed how the silent “felt”, what was the favorite station (anything with a stamp), and we took the following True/False quiz of what the bible actually says about the Christmas story.
It took 1 hour and 10 minutes for the students to rotate through the stations and believe it or not, the silence zone was honored. Our senior pastor provided a continuous run of an instrumental Christmas CD and a continuous burning fireplace on the big screen throughout the event. The kids loved it! And so did we.