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May 2019- Easter-Practicing Kindness

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

Connecting families to God and each other

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed! Hallelujah!

I pray you and your family felt God’s presence during Lent and that you had a blessed Easter. This month, during the weeks that follow Easter, I invite you and your family to continue practicing the spiritual disciplines you picked up during Lent. Stay connected to God and to neighbor. Included in this newsletter are ways for you and your family to continue this holy work together.  

May you and your family find new ways to connect with God and neighbor this spring!
 
I wonder: How will you and your family practice kindness?
 
As we grow together I invite you to share your thoughts, prayers, wonderings, and experiences with #growingtogetherumc, or send an e-mail to: tcampen@riotexas.org. We would love to hear how you and your family are experiencing God together.  May you be filled with God’s renewing presence during this holy season. Grace and Peace, Tanya
We are in the season of Easter (April 21st-June 2nd). This year we have 9 full weeks to celebrate the mystery of Easter. The color for the season of Easter is white. Some refer to this time as Eastertide, Easter Time, or Paschaltide. This is a festal season where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms. This is a great time for your family to continue the holy work of connecting to God and each other every day.

For more information on Eastertide, check out these links:
Ask The UMC: Why is the Easter season 50 days long?
Ask The UMC: When is Easter over? What comes next?
Look: Flowers

In May we often see the flowers that come after the showers in April. Flowers are often a gift given to others as an act of kindness or love. This month we are looking for flowers as we practice kindness. When you see a flower, stop and take time to talk to God:

"God, Thank-you for Jesus who shows me how to be kind. Help me show kindness to others. Amen.”    

Listen: The Golden Rule


Scripture: Read Matthew 7:7-12 together. You might choose to read one verse a day or break this into several different sections, reading together throughout the month. Take turns reading, giving everyone who desires an opportunity to read.

Memory Verse Activity: Matthew 7:12a

Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you.

Take time this month to learn this verse as a family. You might choose to say this verse as part of your prayer before meals, or before you leave the house in the morning. Print this verse and put it somewhere in your house where family members will see it every day. A great place is on your bathroom mirrors (you can use a wipe-off marker, or a family bulletin board).

Take time to discuss what this verse means to each person in your family.

Ask: I wonder how you wanted to be treated? I wonder how Jesus wants us to treat others?
Wonder
  • * I wonder what this Scripture/story tells us about God?
  • * I wonder what this Scripture/story tells us about us?
  • * I wonder what this Scripture/story tells us about kindness?
  • * I wonder what God is calling us to do?

Work: Practicing Kindness

 
This month practice random acts of kindness as a family
 
1. Print flower shapes onto brightly colored paper. (For a template visit: https://www.firstpalette.com/printable/flower-shapes.html)

2. Cut out the flowers and then decorate them together. For children who are able to write you might have them post a kind note such as: Jesus loves you or Have a great day. For younger children you can encourage them to draw a picture, color each flower, or use stickers to decorate each flower.

3. Encourage your family members to practice random acts of kindness—aka making the bed for a sibling, opening the door for a stranger, helping an elderly neighbor with a household chore. The list is endless. 

4. When you practice a random act of kindness leave a flower behind to help brighten the person's day. (Note- these can be anonymous notes or you may choose to sign them)

5. At your family gathering (Meal time, bed time, weekly meeting, etc), take time to share the acts of kindness you completed and the ones you experienced. How did it feel to be kind to others?

Pray

"God, Thank-you for Jesus who shows me how to be kind. Help me show kindness to others. Amen.” 


Bless


How to bless your family: Blessings help us connect with and affirm one another. It is an opportunity for God's people to remind each other that God is with us and that God loves us. Blessings look different from person to person and family to family. Find a time each day to bless the members of your family. This might be at meal times, bedtime, or at the start of the day. One way to offer a blessing is to make the shape of a cross on your family member’s forehead or hand while saying words of your choice.
 
Make the shape of a cross on your family member’s forehead or hand while saying these words:
(Make a vertical line.) God loves you.
(Make a horizontal line.) Christ is with you.
(Look your family member in his/her eyes.) The Holy Spirit helps us show kindness to others.
(hug your family member) We can do this work together.
 


Loving Neighbor 

As you and your family consider how you will show kindness this month I invite you too:
  • View this video: The Science of Kindness
  • Decide as a family who you want to show kindness to this month. You might do this by:
  • Helping an elderly neighbor with yardwork or spring cleaning
  • Running errands for a family with a new baby
  • Participating in a volunteer project together.
There are many ways to show kindness- I wonder what you and your family will decide?

When you practice kindness you might be surprised by what you experience.

Take time to journal what you see, hear, and experience in these moments. Draw or take a picture if something catches your attention.

When your family gathers, invite everyone to share how they practiced repentance and forgiveness that day/week/month. Do you have a family faith practice or story you want to share? E-mail your stories to:
tcampen@riotexas.org and maybe your story will appear here in an upcoming issue of Growing Together: Families.

Featured Resource: Random Acts of Kindness
"Our mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. We work toward that goal by creating free content that promotes kindness toward others & teaches important kindness skills to kids." 

Check out their free resources including:

Kindness Ideas
Kindness Quotes
Kindness Stories


Other Resources:
Pockets (A devotional magazine for children)
 
 
 

We wonder what you wonder about!
Submit your questions to: tcampen@riotexas.org and someone from our conference family will share their reflections in an upcoming issue of Growing Together Family.
Copyright © 2019 Rio Texas Annual Conference United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.


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