Liturgies, “sermons” and activities for children

Lent 5 – Children

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Banksia cone

Begin by showing the children seed pods that are easily opened and some that are not. Then show them a banksia flower (or cone if possible) and ask if they know what it is. Show the picture of the banksia cone (from Australian Stock photos). Explain that the banksia cone doesn’t open as easily as other cones. In fact it needs fire before it will open and allow the seeds to escape.

Fire is a terrible thing, it destroys everything in its path, but sometimes good things come out of it – all the old growth is cleared away making room for new trees to grow and plants like this banksia can shed their seeds and produce new plants.

Sadly, sometimes awful things happen, but if we trust in Jesus, the bad things in our lives will encourage us trust more in God. Hopefully they will make us stronger and better. If you are feeling that everything is too hard, remember that even though fire destroys everything it allows new things to grow and even though Jesus died, God raised him up again and God will raise us up, over and over and over again.

(Activity – give the children some black paper and encourage them to fill it with bright colours. Or make a pencil drawing of a banksia for them to colour in.)

Lent 1 – 2018 Children’s talk

“Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

One of our goals in this Parish is to build children’s faith and confidence by assuring them that God loves them. To that end we are trying to find ways to help them to engage in the practice of Lent by doing simple spiritual exercises that encourage a positive focus. So instead of suggesting that they are bad and that they need to do something to fix that, we try to help them to see that trusting in God’s love and allowing God into their lives.

This year we noticed that the gospel for today (Mark 1:9-13) included Jesus’ baptism. The theme of baptism will form the focus for a prayer space that will be set up in our church grounds. Each member of the congregation will receive a blue glass

The children’s talk will go something like this.

I will have the baptism bowl front and centre and wash myself.

Then I will produce a bottle cleaner, add soap to it and pretend to put it in mouth.

I’ll ask: “Is this how I clean out my insides? If I scrub and scrub will that make me a better, more loving person? Can I scrub away hatred, anger, fear and sadness?”

(Hopefully the children will say: “no”.)

Then I’ll take a bottle and immerse it in the water. As the water fills the bottle, the air will come out as bubbles. I’ll suggest that the water is God’s love, or the Holy Spirit and that the bubbles are hatred, anger, fear and sadness.

I’ll say: “Instead of trying to scrub our insides to make them clean – we ask God to fill us up from the inside and to force all the negative things out.”

D is going to give you a glass “stone”. We’d like you to take it home, with the prayer card. During Lent you might like to say the prayer and make room for God in your insides.


Joyful God fill me with your love.

Love squeezes out sadness and fear.

Love leaves no room for anger and hate.

Fill me with your love

so that I can show that love to strangers,

to friends, to my family

and most importantly – to you. Amen.

“Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18




Requirements: Tubes made with A4 paper or other. Clear cellophane and blue cellophane.

The children will be given tubes with the words: “Perfect love casts out fear” on them. Inside the tubes will be the words: “Hate, Anger, Sadness, Fear”. At the end of the tube will be a tissue “plug”. As they feed the cellophane (water) through the tube they will push the “plug” out and the words will fall out.

Water pushing bubbles out (reverse of prayer card)

Reverse of prayer card

Love “pushes out” fear







Matthew 18:10-20


Scene 1

(Marian sitting playing on an iPad. Timer rings. Connor comes up to her.)

C: It’s my turn for the iPad, give it to me!

M: I’m just finishing something wait a minute!

C: (getting louder) No it’s my turn. Give it to me!

M: (turning her back) No! I’m busy!

C: (trying to snatch the iPad) (very loud) It’s my turn!

M: (goes to hit Connor) (very loud) WAIT!

C: (goes to hit Marian) MUM!!

Mum: (Comes and takes the iPad and sends Connor and Marian to their rooms)

Give that to me. If you can’t share you won’t be able to use it. I want you both to go to your room.

(Both children stamp off to their rooms.)

M: I HATE you!

C: I HATE you!

Ask the children if that approach seemed helpful or whether it achieved anything?

Say: “Let’s try something different.”

Scene 2

(Marian sitting playing on an iPad. Connor comes up to her.)

C: Marian it’s my turn now. Can I have the iPad?

M: Connor I’m just finishing something. Would you mind if I have one more minute? I’ll ask mum if you can have a longer time as well.

C: That’s OK, I’ll wait.

(short break)

M: All done. Thanks for letting me finish. I’ll go and tell mum that you let me have extra time. I’m sure she’ll let you have a longer play too.

Ask the children if that approach worked better. Explain that Jesus thought that working things out together was much better than fighting, which usually makes things worse.


Matthew 14:22-33 (Peter walking on water)

For this I decided to use the image of a surfer who needs to focus to maintain balance and to ride the wave. (It involves me pretending to ride a board and falling off when I am afraid or lose concentration). Then I draw the link with the gospel and the need to keep our focus on Jesus even when everything threatens to overwhelm us.

The activity requires paper, cotton balls (for waves), glue, a picture of Jesus to glue on and perhaps a simple boat.

Jesus walking on water





Psalm 139 (Perfect in God’s eyes)

This is very easy if you can get hold of the story Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles. The story tells itself. For the children’s activity, we made emus – you need pipe cleaners (grey), pompoms in two sizes for the body and the head (brown), feathers, and if you like, felt for a beak. Bend one pipe cleaner around the smaller pompom, then around the larger one (leaving a bit sticking out for a tail. Cut another pipe cleaner in half and thread it under the body, bend the “feet” forward, glue in place. Glue on feathers and a beak.




The Parable of the Sower (or God’s wild abandon)


I ask the children to come forward. Toss some glitter into the air so that it lands on everyone. Ask if they all got some. Ask if I was careful how I threw it (hopefully they will say I wasn’t). Did I try to make it land on the eldest, or the cleverest or the one who was the best behaved? (Again, hopefully they will say I didn’t.)

Wonder aloud how long it will take to come off. Suggest that they will sparkle all day – just a tiny bit of glitter will catch the light. Tell them that whenever someone sees the glitter it will make them smile.

Tell them that God’s love is like that. God throws love at everyone – the good and the bad, the clever and the not so clever, the old and the young. If we know that God loves us, we will love ourselves and everyone else in the world. Just like our tiny sparkles of glitter make people smile, our love will make other people feel loved and God’s love will grow and grow and grow until the whole world is filled with love.

Easter Liturgy for Children – 2007

Marian Free

(Gather outside the church)
We are going to go on a journey to discover what we can about Jesus’ last week—most of which was in a big city called Jerusalem. I’m going to need your help to tell the story. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK!  Let’s go! Say after me –
We’re going to Jerusalem.
Jesus is coming.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
We’re not scared.

(At the south door)
When Jesus came to Jerusalem, he rode a donkey through the town so every one could see him. People were so excited that they waved branches and put clothes on the ground in front of him. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Take a branch and let’s go!
We’re going to Jerusalem.
Jesus is here.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
We’re not scared.

(Move to Chancel)                                                                                                                                                                                                 Jesus stayed near Jerusalem. One day he went to the Temple. Everyone was busy selling things or buying things – birds and sheep – in church! It was like a market not a church. Jesus was so cross he tipped the tables over! Everyone was running – the animals were frightened, there was money all over the floor! Let’s go! Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!
We’re going to the temple.
Jesus is here.
Jesus is angry.
We’re not scared.

(Move to north door)
Another night, Jesus had dinner with his friends. It was a special dinner to remember what God had done for God’s people. At the dinner they eat bread  and  drink wine to remember how the people had suffered in Egypt.

Jesus said that the bread was him—his body was going to be broken. He said the wine was like his blood—he was going to be bleeding. (He was telling his friends that he was going to be killed, but his friends didn’t understand.) Jesus said to remember him when we eat bread and drink wine. Let’s do that now and remember Jesus.
(Share bread and grape juice)*

After dinner, Jesus went into a garden to prayer. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!

We’re going to a garden.
Jesus is praying.
Shuuuush! Shuuuush!
We’re not scared.

(Move to prayer garden – or suitable outside space)                                                                                                                              When Jesus was praying, some people came with swords to take him away. His friends were not very brave – they ran away. Let’s go. Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s go!
In the garden with Jesus.
Soldiers are coming.
They have swords and clubs.
Run! Run and hide!

(Run into church and hide in front pews)
All Jesus’ friends ran away to hide. Jesus was taken away by the soldiers. Even though he had done nothing wrong, they wanted to kill him.
Jesus is in trouble.
They want to kill him.
Crucify him! Crucify him!
Now we are scared.
(Move to cross)
In those days they nailed people on to a cross.  It was very painful. They nailed Jesus to a cross. (Let children hammer nail into cross.)
Jesus is in BIG trouble.
They nail him to a cross.
Hammer. Hammer.
We’re so sad.

(Sit to the side of the Chancel)
After three hours on the cross, Jesus died. His friends took him and buried him in a cave. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!
We’re going to see Jesus.
They put him in a tomb.
Sniffle. Sniffle.
We’re so sad.

(Cover the children with a black cloth)
Jesus stayed in the tomb for three days. On Sunday, the women who were his friends came to put oil on his body. (Pull the cloth off) But Jesus wasn’t there. The tomb was empty! Jesus was alive! Jesus was alive!
Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!

(Blowing whistles, move around the altar)
We’re going to see Jesus!
Jesus is alive!
Jesus is with us!
It’s awesome! It’s awesome.

We are going to see Jesus!
Jesus is alive!
Jesus lives in us!
It’s awesome! It’s awesome!*

We know that Jesus is alive because we feel his presence with us. We see what Jesus can do. We give thanks to God, because Jesus is alive.

Let’s say a prayer:

Loving God,
We thank you for sending Jesus to us.
We thank you for what we can learn from Jesus.
Help us to know Jesus and to know that you love us. Amen.

* A translation for “Hosanna”.

Copyright: Marian Free 2007.
If you would like to use this service, please identify the author. Thank you.
For further information:


The idea for this liturgy was to cover the events of Easter week in a short accessible way. Because the children were young a lot of movement was built in and the repetition of the chorus.

At Toowong, we were able to gather in the Parish Centre and move up to the church.

Palm Sunday: The palms were at the door for the children to wave.
Overturning the tables: A card table with some money and empty cages was thrown over by an older child.
Last Supper: The children sat outside the church to eat bread and drink juice.
Garden: An older child with a sword appeared as the cue for us to run into the church.
Cross: Toowong had a large cross with holes drilled in it. The children hammered nails into the holes.*
Tomb: Several metres of black cloth were draped over the children.*
Easter: We had bubbles as well as the whistles to indicate the joy of Easter.

* Children did not have to participate in these tasks, though in our case adults sat under the cloth which made it less threatening.

Epiphany Service
for Families 2008

Marian Free

Notes: It is intended that the children are on the move – givng some sort of sense of journey. At various points around the room/church or other venue, there should be “stations” at which the children might make or pick up a symbol which relates to the theme – maps, gifts etc. The final stop is the Nativity Scene where the children might leave their gifts. (A powerful experience on the first occasion this liturgy was used, was that the children left ALL their collected treasures for Jesus.)

You will need: Stars to hang in the space. Extra stars and sticks, sticky-tape, small rolls of paper (scrolls) tied with string or ribbon, pieces of paper and pencils to create “maps”, “crowns” made from paper or cardboard, cardboard hearts, chocolate coins (best bought before Christmas) and a Nativity Scene. Glue, glitter, sequins whatever you think would be suitable for decorating crowns, stars etc. You might also like to give each child a bag to carry their luggage and to have some frankincense and myrhh. 

(Hang stars around room)
Presents to give to Jesus – love, kindness…
Begin at Function Room Door

A very long time ago a new star appeared in the sky.
Some people who were wise saw the star and wondered what it meant. (Children decorate a star and attach it to a stick. They carry the star before them as they move to the next station as the leader readers the verse.)

 The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They travelled many days and many nights. They crossed rivers and mountains and deserts. (Children take a “scroll” from this station.)

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

Day after day they travelled, always following the star, not sure where it would take them. (At this station the children draw a “map” to add to their luggage.)

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They came to Jerusalem. A king would be in a palace they thought. (Here the children decorate a crown to wear.)

 The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They went to the palace and asked the king: “Where is the new king going to be born?” The king called his priests and wise men. (The children colour in a “heart” to give to Jesus.)

The star shone.
The wise men scratched their heads
They opened their books
“In Bethlehem they said,
the new king will be there.

The king said: Tell me when you find him. I will take him a present too. (The children take some chocolate coins from a bowl to give to Jesus.)

The star shone.
They magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

In Bethlehem, the star shone over a stable. The magi went in and gave their gifts to the baby. (The children give their hearts and some of the chocolate coins to Jesus).

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off to find a king.

In the night an angel said, do not go back to the old king.

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They left their presents
They packed their bags
and went home.
They had found their king.

We know that king, the king is Jesus. We give him presents

The star still shines.
We scratch our heads
We read our books
We take our presents
and live our lives in search for our king.

Copyright: Marian Free 2008


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