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Come as a Child: Children's Sermons to See and Hear #1. (Reviews).

Come as a Child: Children's Sermons to See and Hear #1 by Jim Penner and Scott Sinclair (Abingdon, 2001).

Two people who love children have teamed up to create a well-crafted resource for worship leaders. Many congregations include a children's time during worship, in which children gather for a story that is tied to the worship theme or Scripture texts. In my travels, I have witnessed the good, the bad and the meaningless attempts to engage children in worship. I have seen children moved as they received a blessing from the pastor, thrilled as they see a Bible story come to life, and dance with joy at a Palm Sunday parade. Unfortunately, I have heard congregations laugh at a child's innocent remark, causing embarrassment and hurt for the child. I have watched adults act as comedians in an attempt to entertain the children (and adults). And I have felt scolded by an adult who used the children's time inappropriately to make a strong moralizing point to the adults.

Come as a Child puts the children first! Using objects that children can relate to, language that is for children and a style that engages children and adults alike, the authors have created a resource that is easily accessible to leaders. Each story includes the message to be conveyed, useful commentary on the Scripture texts and a story or experience. The props and objects are easy to find and appropriate. I appreciate the attention paid to inclusive language. It is the Scripture text that guides the story and the theme. Based on the lectionary texts for Year A, these stories are relevant to children of all ages, but especially those in the younger elementary years.

I highly recommend Come as a Child #1 as a necessary resource for pastors, worship leaders, indeed anyone who cares about nurturing faith with integrity in the church's children. The key word index helps to broaden the book's usefulness. Try it in children's assemblies or Sunday school classes, camp settings, Christian elementary schools, even family gatherings. There is also an index of Scripture texts used. In addition, the introduction provides a teaching tool for anyone who wants to become a competent and beloved teller of children's stories.

I am glad this is the first book in a series. I look forward with anticipation to the next two volumes from these two adults who can still see the world through children's eyes.

Eleanor Snyder has served as director of children's education for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church U.S.A. since 1994. She holds a doctor of ministry degree from the Toronto School of Theology. Her thesis was "Including Children in the Life of the Congregation: A Contemporary Mennonite Exploration."
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Author:Snyder, Eleanor
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2002
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