Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 2: Research Congregational History

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Historical items or documents from your congregation
  • Optional: A large roll of paper, washable markers, and tape
  • Optional: Note paper or thank you cards

Preparation for Activity

  • Determine a productive source of information about the history of your congregation. This might be a long-term member whom you invite to speak to your group. Or, you may have access to a book or online document about the history of your church, or archives containing old documents.
  • Plan to have the group write a thank-you letter to any guest speakers.
  • Optional: Begin a time line of the congregation's history on a long sheet of paper. Plan how the children can build, and perhaps display, the time line using information they will learn from a guest speaker and/or archive documents.

Description of Activity

Institutions as well as individuals have roots, and understanding these roots can be a source of power for the group and the individuals in it. Just as each person is shaped by their own personal history, organizations are shaped by the events of their past. Understanding important events in the history of a congregation can illustrate strengths of the group moving forward and can help in understanding what old assumptions might be standing in the way of the congregation expressing its power. One excellent way to explore the roots of your congregation is to bring in a member who has studied (and, even better, experienced) your congregation's history. Have the group prepare for this visit by brainstorming questions about the congregation. You may also wish to bring in historical items from your congregation, such as a membership book, old newsletters, photographs, etc. You may wish to create a time line of the congregation by writing significant dates and events on a long sheet of paper marked with the years your congregation has been in existence, and adding photographs or illustrations if you have some.