Sunday Club looks at Elisabeth of Russia (Romanova)

Prayer: Elisabeth Romanova forgave her husband’s murderer, gave up her royal status, wealth and possessions, devoted her life to serving the poor and sick as a nun, and died with the praises of God on her lips. Lord, grant us the grace to forgive those who hurt us, to give to those who need our help, and to praise you in every circumstance of life.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Pray for us Elisabeth Romanova, Pray for us, all saints of God.

Info: Elisabeth was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was born a German Princess.
She married into the Russian Royal Family; her husband, Sergei Alexandrovich, was a deeply religious man and through his example, Elisabeth became a Russian Orthodox.
Throughout her life, she helped those who were suffering and in the most need.
She started a number of charities who worked within the churches of Russia and was head of the Woman’s Committee of the Red Cross who helped soldiers during war time with medical care, clothes and food.
Her husband was killed during political unrest. After this took place, she decided to sell everything that was valuable and she set up a convent in 1909.
In her new life as a nun, she would care for the gravely ill at night, and would work with the other nuns in the poorest areas of Moscow during the day. She also rescued lots of children from criminal areas of the city.
When the political scene changed, and the Bolsheviks came to power, they did not like having the former princess around and saw her as a threat. They arrested her in 1918 and two months later, she was murdered.
She was taken with a number of other prisoners on 17th July 1918 to an abandoned iron mine and hand grenades were thrown down to blow them up, but it didn’t work, because after the explosions, they started singing hymns.
The prisoners’ bodies were not found until the 8th October 1918, still in the mine shaft. In her last hours, Elisabeth had used her nuns robes to bandage another person’s head. Even at the end, she was caring for the needs of others.
Craft
Before telling the children about the life of Elisabeth, explain to them that the saint and martyr for today was a princess. Get them to think and explore what they understand a princess to be. Use examples from Disney films about how princesses are portrayed.
Using a paper figure, get them to write or draw on one side, what they think of when they think of a princess (crown, nice hair, pretty dress, riches).
Once they have done this, tell them about the life of Princess Ella (Elisabeth Romanova), about her religious beliefs and her charity work and later on, her becoming a nun.
As the group what they think about this princess, does she match their picture?
On the reverse side of their figure get them to write or draw what Princess Ella was like.
Conclude by explaining that you can’t judge what people are like because of their circumstances. Just because Elisabeth was a princess and her husband was powerful, doesn’t mean that she saw herself as better than others, or removed from other people’s lives. She was a princess, but she wanted to help people, and care for them. She sold everything she had to help her do this, and that is why she is a saint.
Craft
Using magazines, newspapers and pictures from the internet get the kids to cut out two sets of pictures. The first should be of people and others think makes our society great, for example celebrities, and beauty adverts. The second should be of people showing people are great by serving other people, for example charity adverts which show happy people getting food and clean water, or refugees finding welcome in a different country. Get the children to closely look at the faces of the people in the two groups. Which group looks happier and involved in what they’re doing?
Tell the story of Elisabeth selling all her riches and dedicating her life to serving the poor. Would we remember her if she hadn’t done this great thing? Would she still be a person we can take example from?
Discussion
The story of Princess Ella works well with the story of the rich man asking Jesus how to get into heaven, Mark 10. 17-22.
Ask the group ‘what do we use our hands for?’ Compile a list.
When we’re young, adults will tell us what to do with our hands, ‘Don’t touch that’, ‘Don’t pick your nose’, ‘Wash your hands’. As we get older, we can decide for ourselves what we do with our hands. We can use them to do good or bad things. What are some of the difficult decisions that we have to make as children and as adults?
Look at the story of Mark 10. 17-22, the rich man wanted to follow Jesus, and was obviously devout following the Law, but he loved his wealth and the stuff he had too much, and this stopped him from being able to follow Jesus.
What stops us from following Jesus today?
For Ella, although she was a faithful Christian while she was married, it was only after he husband died and she was able to get rid of all her wealth that she was able to dedicate her life to working for Christ in the poorest areas of Russia. Once she got rid of the things that were stopping her from doing this, she was able to live a great life, helping 100’s and 1000’s of people.
What might be stopping you?

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Sunday Club looks at George Tankerfield

Prayer: George Tankerfield took his stand upon the word of scripture, and bravely faced the flames rather than deny his own conscience. Lord. make us strong in the knowledge of your word, and teach us your truth, that we too may be faithful, and never fail you in the time of trial.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Pray for us George Tankerfield, Pray for us, all saints of God.

Info: By the reign of Queen Mary English history there had been lots of arguments and fighting because of religion. The reformation had taken place where Henry VIII had separated the official church in England from following the church in Rome and the Pope. The church in England had gotten rid of a lot of the practices of the Roman Catholic church that they felt was wrong and not in keeping with what Christ taught, and became what is called Protestant. However, now Henry VIII’s first daughter Mary was on the throne, she wanted the church to be reunited with Rome and was against all those who called themselves protestant.

George Tankerfield was a Yorkshire baker and a protestant and is remembered most for standing up for what he believed in and not being afraid of speaking what he believed was the truth. At the time of his arrest, he was working in London.

When questioned he said he didn’t believe in the act of confessing to a priest and that the sacrament of the Eucharist as it was at the time was too full of idolatry and was not in keeping with what Christ intended and that there were only two sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, others such as marriage, ordination, confirmation etc were not.

He was taken away from his home and brought to St Albans and killed (burnt) at Romeland at the west end of St Albans Cathedral as an example for other protestant in 1555.

From many of the people who saw him die, they said that they were sorry to see such a godly man burnt, and some praised God for his constancy and perseverance in the truth. Others said it was a shame he stood to such opinions and some shouted against him.
Craft

Telling the Truth vs lies

(I found this craft on-line but forgot to make a note where from, please tell me if you know who the original source is so I can credit them)

Game

Play a game of fact or fiction.

Compile a list of fact and fiction questions for your age group. The idea here is simply to get the kids thinking again about true/false, right/wrong. Have them vote, guess, or however you want to structure it. Have fun.

Game

Get the kids to sit in a circle. Spin a bottle in the middle of the circle, whoever it lands on has to say something that is true.

Play until everyone has had a go.

This game is to introduce the theme of telling the truth.

Discussion

Sometimes it can be difficult telling what is truth today, especially with the internet where anyone can publish whatever they like, people are not always honest, and sometimes people don’t have all the facts to determine if something is truth or not.

  1. What sources of right and wrong could influence someone?
  2. . Which ones are most common today?
  3. How do you determine what you believe?

In the Bible there are over 200 occasions where the ‘truth’ is discussed.

Have a look over and discuss some of these occasions when the truth is talked about, what impact do they have on us?

The Gospel is the Truth – Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5
God wants us to know the Truth – 2 Timothy 2:15
The Church is meant to protect the Truth – 1 Timothy 3:15
Some oppose the Truth – 2 Timothy 3:2-8 (With emphasis on verse 7)
The Truth should change how we live – 1 John 3:18

If you were in the situation of George Tankerfield, would you stand up for what you believe in, or would you have told them what they wanted to hear (maybe with your fingers crossed behind you back)? What people like Tankerfield do is brave and takes more courage than most people have, and that is why they are remembered and why the church gives thanks for them.

Story

One day Emily went fishing with her granddad. Emily had a good time and was especially happy when she caught a fish.

When Emily got home, she went to see her friend Danny. He invited her inside and took her into the kitchen, where he showed her a fish that he had caught. Danny’s fish was much bigger than the fish Emily had caught.

Emily was happy for Danny, but she also felt disappointed. Compared to Danny’s fish, her fish was very small. She didn’t want Danny to know how bad she felt, so she told him that she went fishing with her granddad and caught a fish so big that she and her granddad had to use a net to help pull it in. Emily told Danny that her fish was much bigger than his.

Discussion

What did Emily do that was wrong?

What should Emily have done?

What does it mean to tell the truth?

Explain that telling the truth is part of being honest. When we tell the truth, we tell about things exactly as they happened. Why is it important to tell the truth? You may want to ask the children to tell about times when they have told the truth.

Craft

Tell the truth Glue the sheet to some colourful card and get the kids to break the code. This activity could be used after one of the games or the fishing story. (Again, forgot the original source for this.)