On Ash Wednesday at Grace Church Milton, the Kids’ Spirit children’s ministry hosted a half-day educational program for children, continuing a tradition that began in 1991.
The purpose of this program is to provide a fun and educational learning experience about Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, including the imposition of ashes. All children in Grades 1-8 are invited to attend and because it is a release program for religious education, the children are not marked absent from school.
This year the program was run by the collaborative efforts of Kids’ Spirit teachers Candance Barton, Edith Oyosoro, Meredith Gibson, Father Mark McDermott and Rector Karine Snowdon.
The day began with the children sharing their ideas about Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent using words or pictures on poster paper.
Following some songs and snacks, the children went on a scavenger hunt around the church. They followed clues to find envelopes containing palm crosses from last Palm Sunday. Afterwards, the children went outside with Reverend Karine and Father Mark to burn the palm crosses and leftover palm leaves. It was a cold March morning, but they were enthusiastic to help add leaves to the fire!
The program also included time for crafts. Children painted crosses and decorated Alleluias to be hidden in the church until Easter.
Throughout the morning, Reverend Karine taught the children about the meaning of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.
There was discussion about what the children can fast from. The older kids thought about giving up activities like social media and the younger kids thought about giving up behaviours like teasing their siblings.
Reverend Karine also showed the kids a calendar of the days in Lent and talked about Holy Week, prompting lots of questions from the children. She noted that, as Anglicans, we all need to ask questions to continue learning about Jesus.
The children next gathered for an Ash Wednesday service using the ashes they had helped to prepare that morning. One by one, each child heard the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” and received an ashes cross on their forehead.
At the end of the morning everyone gathered for a pizza lunch and the children were then driven back to their schools for the remainder of the day.
This concluded another successful Ash Wednesday children’s program at Grace Church!