How much do children remember?

How do children remember about a visit to a church or cathedral? Does the answer depend upon adults design the questions? Insights might be gained from this study based on a visit to a museum:

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Father Christmas visit barred

It turns out the UK has a policy of putting the children of asylum seekers into detention centers because of the perception that the children are at high risk of "mental health issues". Canon Jim Rosenthal was prevented from visiting them over the weekend as were some other clergy. There were concerns that the visit was a possible security threat.

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With all their chips in, they gamble on a business together

Twenty-five third-graders at St. Matthew's Episcopal School in Houma, Louisiana (about an hour west of New Orleans), are going in on a salty business proposition.

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'All together now': Sunday mornings and the collective mindset

Over at Episcopal Life Online, Mary Jane Wilkie of the Church of the Holy Apostles, New York City, proposes a possible vision for the future of Sunday School, when dwindling supplies of money and people may force churches to push their resources together.

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Playground as sanctuary

Behind a church opens a sanctuary
From the Boston Globe

The sun beat down on Uphams Corner yesterday; by midmorning it was more than 90 degrees. But a few blocks away, in cool shade beneath tall trees, children frolicked on a brand-new playground. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which sits in the heart of a neighborhood often torn by shootings and stabbings, offered its backyard yesterday as a safe space for children to play.

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Going to church with a challenging child

Heather Moffitt describes in the Faith & Leadership blog of Duke Divinity School how taking her son with special needs to Sunday services taught her how to be broken in church.

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Held nearly 20 years, an embryo becomes a baby

Virginia-based reporter Elizabeth Simpson reports from Norfolk:

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Theology and sexual abuse

Mary Condren, writes in the Irish Times on how theology can support sexual abuse.

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Worship for the wiggly

The Hour Online captures a new trend in the Diocese of Connecticut:

A small turnout did not dampen the spirits for the debut of "Worship for the Wiggly" on Sunday afternoon at the Episcopal Church of Christ the Healer on Brookdale Road.

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A new chapter in the Catholic child-rape scandal

America, the Jesuit weekly, carried this report on its blog In All Things last week:

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A new model for Christian education

Judy Valente of the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, profiles Holy Family School in Chicago. Founded in 1985 as a small Lutheran school, it flourishes today as Holy Family Ministries, a nonprofit social services center and an Episcopal charity, as well as a Christian school.

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Church schools as islands of inclusion

Most people in the West tend to think of a "church school" as a place where people, who object to the political correctness and secular morals of a public education, send their children to be educated in a way that supports their family values. And that's certainly the case for many private Christian academies here in the States. But in England the schools run by the Church of England are some of the only places where children can be educated in a climate that represents a true cross-section of their communities.

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Where children sleep

If you haven't taken time to view the pictures from James Mollison's new book "Where Children Sleep", then take five or ten minutes right now. The images are startling, striking and in a few cases deeply poignant.

From the write up on New York Times gallery of images:

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"Time to panic about kid's education"

A recently released report has some sobering news for American parents. Children in the U.S. are falling further behind world standards in education. Some of that may be due to an increasing focus in other nations, but it's alarming that the American system isn't able to keep pace.

LZ Granderson writing on CNN's blog makes this point:

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Making vows

Kate Soles describes her struggle as she and her partner prepared to stand in front of their congregation at the baptism of their child.

She writes in the Toronto Globe and Mail "I was unsure about baptizing our son:"

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Outsourcing social skills

The Wall Street Journal reports on how parents are seeing to their children's social skills by outsourcing.

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Episcopal school embraces iPad

Schools in Knoxville, Tenn., purchased iPads over the summer and are letting their students try to them out, Allison Rupp reports on Among such institutions: Episcopal School of Knoxville.

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Beckwith: legislature's job is to prevent child poverty

Bishop of Newark Mark Beckwith writes that New Jersey's incoming legislature "must fight childhood poverty":

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"All God's Children: Raising Children of Faith Through Adaptive Worship"

Be quiet. Sit still. Pay attention.

This is church for many children, but not at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montclair NJ.

T.D. Shoudy writes for The Montclair Times, found on

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Worship for all of God's children

Imagine you wanted to create a liturgy for children who simply couldn't manage the demands of a traditional liturgy, even a child friendly liturgy. And what would you do so that the worship wouldn't just accommodate their special needs but would communicate appropriately to them?

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Is that an ad for my church on the side of that school bus?

It’s not within our usual ambit for the Café, but consider the following.

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The Stations of the Cross for families

Children narrate the stations.

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Maurice Sendak, in memoriam

Maurice Sendak died today, but not before showing us how the wild rumpus starts.

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The after-school agenda of the "Good News Club"

The Guardian's Katherine Stewart writes on the After-School program called the Good News Club in public schools:

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"What's infidelity": answering children's questions

Bonnie Rochman writes in Time on what to say to asking kids concerning high profile affairs like Gen. David Petraeus:

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The Names

Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, Allison N. Wyatt, 6.

The staff: Rachel Davino, 29, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Lauren Rousseau, 30, Mary Sherlach, 56, Victoria Soto, 27.

(Our addition: Adam and Nancy Lanza.)

(From The New York Times)

In sermons, Episcopal leaders in Washington call for gun control

The leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington will use their sermons this morning to call for stricter gun control legislation.

Both Bishop Mariann Budde, who is preaching at a confirmation service at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, and the Very Rev. Gary Hall, who is preaching at Washington National Cathedral, where he is dean, are calling for a ban on the sale of assault weapons and ammunition for such weapons in addition to other legislation.

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Dean Gary Hall's sermon on the Newtown massacre

Dean Gary Hall of Washington National Cathedral preached this sermon at the 8:45 Eucharist. He will preach again at the 11:15 service.

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Preaching the massacre

Updated: with this link to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's sermon this morning in the Diocese of Lexington. She said, in part:

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"We believe that goodness can come out of the darkest days"

We hope to post links or excerpts from a few of the sermons preached yesterday in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut in the wake of the Newtown massacre. They come to us through the good offices of Karin Hamilton, the diocese's director of communications. This one is by the Rev. Molly James of Saint James, Higganum.

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What they preached about in Connecticut

Karin Hamilton, director of communications in the Diocese of Connecticut and the Rev. Molly James are collecting sermons preached in the diocese on Sunday in the wake of the kills at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. You can read them here.

For whom will our bells toll?

Tomorrow morning, Episcopal parishes across the country will open their doors in order to provide space for prayer and meditation. It will have been one week since tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, transpired, when Adam Lanza killed 27 people before ending his own life, at his own hand. Churches with bells or carillon systems may elect to toll bells to mark and remember the lives lost.

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Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves urges reform of gun laws, NRA

We've asked folks to send us the statements that their bishops, rectors and lay leaders have made in the aftermath of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and will be presenting a few of those today and tomorrow. This one comes from Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real, and though it was written before the National Rifle Association called for installing armed officers in every American school, it does speaks directly to the need to reform that organization.

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Bishop Mathes says NRA's proposals are misguided

In a letter to his diocese, Bishop James Mathes of San Diego voiced opposition to the National Rifle Association's proposal to put an armed person in every American school. The bishop writes:

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The Christmas Story by kids

An oldy-but-a-goody from St. Paul's in Auckland, New Zealand: The Christmas Story as told by kids.

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Holy Innocents and violence against children

Two weeks after the deaths of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, the Feast of the Holy Innocents is particularly poignant for many Americans.

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Teaching children to deal with death

The redoubtable Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of St. John's the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, MA, and co-owner of the Lent Madness franchise, has written a perceptive column about teaching children to deal with death. His essay is all the more piquant because the death that occasioned his musings was that of his children's pet ferret.

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Adoptive parents and the marriage equality debate

Writing for The Politics Blog of Esquire magazine, Tom Junod says the arguments against marriage equality have placed so much emphasis on procreation that for the first time, he and his wife, who are adoptive parents, have begun to wonder whether there are people out there who believe that "the sanctity of our marriage might threaten the sanctity of other marriages, not to mention the institution of marriage itself."

He writes:

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We're 26th. We're 26th.

The United Nations recently released a report on "Child-Well Being in Rich Countries." Of the 29 countries surveyed, the United States was ranked 26th. The report is here. It comes on the heels of a Pew Study which found that although they lived in the world's richest economy, 24 percent of Americans had trouble putting food on the table, and noted that "this reported level of deprivation is closer to that in Indonesia or Greece rather than Britain or Canada."

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I believe that God will judge us for this.

Dear parents with young children in church

"That mom" writes in the blog I am totally *that* mom encouraging parents who bring young children to worship services:

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When the church's chief interest is self-preservation

Earlier today, we ran an item on the Church of England apologizing to victims of clergy sex abuse. That issue has also been on the mind of Frank Bruni, a columnist for The New York Times, who recently took a hard look at the ways in which Catholic bishops are eroding the credibility of the church.

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Host of evidence shows lifelong effect of childhood poverty

The persistent effects of early life hardship, why it is not good for the children and how we all benefit from healthier communities at The New York Times

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Passing on the faith: 6 essentials

Phyllis Tickle offers her six essentials for passing on the faith at Patheos:

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Worshiping with children

Carolyn C. Brown reflects on children in worship at Build Faith:

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Bicycles increase girls' educational enrollment in India

How can you tell if a program to increase girls' enrollment really works?

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My son wears a dress. Get over it.

Matt Duron, police officer, writes on The Atlantic's website about his gender creative son.

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Complexities of the Evangelical adoption boom

Kathryn Joyce writes in The New York Times:

Evangelical adoptions picked up in earnest in the middle of the last decade, when a wave of prominent Christians, including the megachurch pastor Rick Warren and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, began to promote adoption as a special imperative for believers.

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Children are shot to death accidentally at twice the reported rate

The New York Times:

Children shot accidentally — usually by other children — are collateral casualties of the accessibility of guns in America, their deaths all the more devastating for being eminently preventable.

They die in the households of police officers and drug dealers, in broken homes and close-knit families, on rural farms and in city apartments. Some adults whose guns were used had tried to store them safely; others were grossly negligent. Still others pulled the trigger themselves, accidentally fracturing their own families while cleaning a pistol or hunting.

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A special service for special needs children

Several churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark are showing the way in offering opportunities for worship to children with special needs and their families. Christ Church, Budd Lake, which is among the leaders in this field, was recently written up in its hometown paper.

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Christmas in June?

Christmas in June? From the Rev. Luke Fodor:

"Children from St John's Church in Cold Spring Harbor, New York joined the Rev. Luke Fodor, actress Regina Schneider and film maker Michael Fairchild in an acting workshop to tell the story of the nativity in their own way. Shooting the film in June allowed the youngsters to concentrate on the story without all the distractions of the Christmas holiday season.

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Second-grader's 'buddy bench' helps spark playground friendship

This is an idea worth stealing: A Pennsylvania second-grader has taken action to create a "buddy bench" at his school so that children who feel alone on the playground have a place to go to spark new friendships. From the York Daily Record:

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'Painting Table' helps children heal in Newtown

Episcopalians in Connecticut are helping children in Newtown experience the healing power of art.

From the Huffington Post:

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Episcopal Brownie Scouts seek pothole repair

Brownie Scouts from St. Paul's, Lakeview, LA seek action on pothole repair via YouTube™. Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) reports on the Scouts' protest:

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Raising children with gratitude

New studies show that gratitude has positive effects on children and teens (proving your mother was correct about writing those thank you notes). The Wall Street Journal reports:

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What if you shut down your Sunday School?

Day Smith Prichartt writes about an alternative approach to religious education for children:

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Will nursing moms be bolstered by encouragement from pope?

Do you expect breastfeeding moms in your parish to take encouragement from Pope Francis about feeding their babies during church services? Or is nursing a baby already perfectly OK at your church? From the Columbus Dispatch:

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Bringing the kids to church: Suffer the little children, or not?

Nicole Steele Wooldridge is a Seattle churchgoer and mom who ponders whether it's worth the effort required to take her small children to church. Responding to a friend's Facebook rant about families who arrive late and leave services early each Sunday, she writes:

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With Easter egg hunts, come iffy parents

Chaos broke out in New Zealand during what was supposed to be a charming Easter egg hunt. Organizers expected around 5,000 children, but over 30,000 showed up. This, however, was not the main issue.

Problems arose when over eager parents, intent on harvesting the most chocolate eggs for their precious little ones, disregarded restrictions and entered the "children's only" egg-hunting area.

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Presiding Bishop urges humanitarian response to crisis of children at the border

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs via email:

[July 10, 2014] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the current crisis of unaccompanied children and families at the United States border.

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Almost half of Americans want to deport child refugees

Dara Lind at Vox has the story:

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Reflection on Children at the Border

The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, recently returned from a trip to Guatemala. While there, the news of the children migration crisis in the States became apparent.

She posted a reflection about her experiences there on the diocesan webpage.

She writes:

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Charlotte wrote. Lego listened.

Not long ago, a young girl named Charlotte wrote to the folks at Lego:

I am 7 years old and I have LEGOs, but I don’t like that there are more LEGO boy people and barely any LEGO girls. Today I went to a store and saw LEGOs in two sections…All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks. I want you to make more LEGO girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun OK?!?”

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Drawbacks of Sunday School

In an article on Patheos, Tim Wright argues that one of the contributing factors to the rise of the 'spiritual/not-religious' generation is, of all things, Sunday School.

He argues that the pattern of separating children from 'big people church' for so many years in no way prepares them to take their place in regular worship as adults, so we should not be surprised when they abandon church as adults.

He writes:

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Upper SC bishop writes education op ed

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, bishop of Upper South Carolina, has penned an editorial expressing his, and several other bishops', support for increased education funding in the state of South Carolina.

Bishop Waldo explores the various ways in which the Episcopal churches of his diocese are seeking to support the educational process through tutoring programs, food and school supplies programs and other means, including advocacy for more funding.

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