Calvary Episcopal Church
Children & Youth Ministries Newsletter
November, 2020
This November has not only Election Day (11/3) and Thanksgiving Day (11/26) but also the First Sunday of Advent (11/29). I don’t know about you, but my mind is not yet ready to contemplate Advent, so this note will just focus on the first two. 

As one of the costs of living in a democracy, we all have relatives, friends, and neighbors with different political opinions. Even if we don’t agree on the issues, let’s hope that all who can vote will be free to vote his/her conscience, and let’s pray for God’s grace that we may come together whatever the outcome of the election. The Book of Common Prayer offers this prayer for an election:

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or of this community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p822)

Author Sharon Salzburg states, “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world.” Let us commit to healing our divisions and becoming a beloved community for our children and future generations. “Becoming a beloved community” reminds me that November also includes the Feast of All Saints (11/1).

This Thanksgiving may differ from those of previous years due to travel restrictions and cancellations of traditional events. Despite these challenging times, I hope we may be able to connect with loved ones (in person, by phone, or via the Internet). Let’s count our blessings, give thanks, and remember to pass on some blessings to those in need. Here are a couple of Thanksgiving quotes to inspire us:

William Blake: "The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest."
William Arthur Ward: "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
In a section below are some prayers of grace collected by Cinda Stone’s Primary Class over the years. Happy Thanksgiving!

Emily Sityar
CYM Chair
In This Issue

October Zoom Sunday School
Nursery Childcare
Saying Grace
Clergy Discretionary Fund
CYM Bottle & Can Drive
Looking ahead at Sunday School
October Zoom Sunday School

Thanks to everyone who attended our October Zoom Sunday School and contributed to our service. Our readers, and prayer leaders, and candle keepers all performed very well! Here’s a link to the meeting’s slideshow.
We had fun seeing people’s Halloween costumes and playing a guessing game with the Flemings’ baby pictures. We listened to most of Fr. Robert Harvey’s Children’s Sermon about L-O-V-E before experiencing some buffering delays. If you wish to hear his full sermon, it begins about 17:13 minutes into the 21st Sunday After Pentecost Service, available here

Our next Zoom Sunday School will begin at 10 am on November 29, which is both the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day and the First Sunday of Advent. Use this Zoom link, or call +1 646 558 8656 and use Meeting ID: 874 4230 2580 and Passcode: 947065. We will send out a link to Sign-Up Genius to recruit participants such as readers, prayer leaders, and candle keepers, etc. Watch for an email about a short optional activity that the kids can do before the Zoom meeting.
Nursery Childcare

Hello everyone, 

I hope you are all staying safe and doing well during these crazy times.

Olivia (Livi) and I wanted to let you know that the nursery is open during the 11 a.m. service every Sunday. We are making sure all that all toys are cleaned and sanitized after nursery is over. We require all the children to wear masks, Livi and I have ours on at all times; we also take the temperatures of the children, and ourselves, to ensure that everyone stays healthy. Also, any snacks we provide are in individual packages or you can bring your own for your child.

Livi and I are hoping to welcome more children and are willing to have some older children, up to age 10, be with us so that parents can enjoy the service and start to reconnect with the other Calvary members. If you want your child(ren) to be with us, please indicate that when you register for the service, no later than noon Friday, so that we have an accurate head count. We hope to do some easy crafts that are reflective of the holiday or what is being reviewed on the Sunday School website.

Looking forward to trying to resume some semblance of normalcy for our kids.

In faith and community,
Kelly Blackey and Olivia Fleming
Saying Grace

Here are some prayers of grace that Sunday School teacher Cinda Stone has collected from students over the years. The Primary Class students print out a book of grace for their families to use at Thanksgiving dinner as well as everyday meals.
Thank you God, for food to eat-
For milk and bread and sandwich meat.
Thank you Lord, for tasty cheese.
But do I HAVE to eat these peas?
God is good.
God is great, we thank him for our food.
Thank you for the sun, the sky,
for all the things that like to fly.
The shining rain that turns grass green,
The earth we know-
The world unseen-
For stars and night, and once again
The every morning sun. 
Bless O' Lord this food for our needs and us to thy service,
And see us ever mindful of the needs of others.
In Jesus' name.
God we thank you for this food.
For rest and home and all things good.
For wind and rain, and sun above.
But most of all for those we love.
Heavenly Father,
Bless this food,
To Thy glory 
And our good.
We thank thee Lord, for daily bread
As by hands our souls are fed.
Grant us to grow more like to Thee,
Today and through eternity.

God is great, God is good
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hands we must be fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread.

Bless this meal, O God we pray,
And bless us, too, throughout the day.
Keep us safe and close to you,
And kind in all we say and do.

Lord make us thankful
For these and other blessings.
In Jesus' name.
Thank you for the world so sweet.
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you, God for everything.

We thank you Lord for happy hearts,
For rain and sunny weather,
We thank you, Lord, for this our food
And that we are together.

Lord be with us on this day of thanksgiving
Help us make the most of this life we are living
As we are about to partake of this bountiful meal
Let us not forget the needy and the hunger they feel
Help us show compassion in all that we do
And for all our many blessings we say thank you.
From the Book of Common Prayer: Grace at Meals

Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bless, O Lord, thy gifts to our use and us to thy service; for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Blessed are you, O Lord God, King of the Universe, for you give us food to sustain our lives and make our hearts glad; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For these and all his mercies, God’s holy Name be blessed and praised; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Clergy Discretionary Fund

If you know of any Calvary parishioners who are experiencing financial difficulty paying their utility bills, rent, or groceries, etc., please let Fr. Harvey or the church office know. Calvary’s Clergy Discretionary Fund is intended to help parishioners who are struggling to make ends meet, especially during these uncertain times.
Looking ahead at Sunday School

When we were planning for Sunday School in August, Fr. Harvey focused on how to do Sunday School from September through December 2020 due to the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. We have been doing Sunday School on the last-Sunday-of-month via Zoom while providing pre-registered childcare in the Nursery for infants to age 10 for families who attend the in-person 11 am service every Sunday. 

We starting to plan our Sunday School meetings for November and December. If you have any suggestions for activities for Thanksgiving, Advent, or Christmas, please contact Emily Sityar. One idea for our December Sunday School would be to have a Zoom Children’s Christmas Pageant. We would write up a simple script and post a sign-up sheet online for participants. Families could improvise simple costumes from home. Although the Zoom format makes it hard for all of us to sing aloud together, we may also ask for family volunteers to take turns singing the first stanza of their favorite Christmas carol. Beyond Sunday School, Kelly Sandburg and Doug Sandburg are looking into ways for families to socialize virtually. 

Fr. Harvey wishes to know what Sunday School will be like after the New Year. Given the availability of volunteer teachers, we will be keeping the online large-group format of our current Sunday School. But we welcome suggestions on how we could improve on and/or expand our programming without in-person classes for 2021.

Beyond this year, Kevin Durkin, Calvary’s Director of Music, is hoping to build a Children’s Choir. Stay tuned for future announcements.
CYM Bottle & Can Drive

Thanks to all of you who have been bringing their redeemable bottles and cans to The Millersport Recycling Bottle & Can Redemption Center at 803 Millersport Highway and crediting returns to "Calvary Episcopal Church." Unless anyone can suggest an alternate charity, CYM will be donating the Bottle & Can funds to Episcopal Relief and Development’s Disaster Fund to provide relief for the wildfires in California and other western states.
Diocesan Children and Youth Online Formation Underway

Online formation for children and youth in the partnership dioceses is available on Saturdays and Sundays via Zoom.

Saturday Offerings (using Shine curriculum)
10 a.m. – Formation for PK – 2nd grade kids
11 a.m. – Formation for 3rd – 6th grade kids
Sunday Offerings
11 a.m. – Children’s Worship
6 p.m. First Sunday – Junior High Youth Group
6 p.m. Second Sunday – Senior High Youth Group
6 p.m. Third Sunday – LGBTQ Discussion and Education (for high-school-aged youth)
Parents and youth can complete an online form to register and receive a link to the Zoom offerings.

Contact Missioner for Youth and Children Wendy Schumacher with questions.
For flowers that bloom about our feet,
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
For song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear and see,
Father in heaven, we thank thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky,
For pleasant shade of branches high,
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank thee.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank thee.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
20 Milton Street, Williamsville, NY 14221