Program relates stories to lifePublished 8:19pm Friday, June 17, 2011
By Alison McFerrin
The Selma Times-Journal
At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, scripture and pop culture go hand-in-hand at the monthly PB&J Club.
“I think it’s a wonderfully creative way to engage the minds and the hearts of our children here,” rector David Powell said. “We’ve got some incredibly creative adults working and teenagers working with them, and also some very gifted and articulate children who are really learning about their faith.”
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Club has nothing to do with delicious sandwiches — although there are snacks involved.
One Monday per month during the school year, the parish’s children — first through sixth graders — meet at the church building for two hours to learn life and Bible lessons through popular stories. Some past themes have included Finding Nemo, Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss.
“Candice Frazer was our full-time director of children’s education for several years, and it was under her watch that the Peanut Butter and Jelly Club was created,” said associate rector Betsy Powell. “We have continued her idea and had a wonderful year this year continuing in the same tradition.”
This year’s theme was The Wizard of Oz, and children spent each month being “Munchkins” and learning how to relate stories from Oz to their own lives.
One example of a lesson learned was when Dorothy became a blessing to the Munchkins — the children were encouraged to think about how to be blessings to other people, Betsy said.
“Those sorts of loose connections, but fun connections, that could bring our own faith into some of the things in the movie,” Betsy said.
Last year the program had 12 to 18 children, Betsy said, who got to enjoy playing outside, eating a snack, watching 10 to 14 minutes of the movie, and visiting with one of the characters each month.
“In addition to engaging the children in the stories and themes of the year and making those connections to scripture and to their daily lives, we also have a lot of fun,” Betsy said. “It’s sort of like a monthly, two-hour Vacation Bible School.”
Sandy Greene is a member of St. Paul’s who did some photography for the program this year.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Greene said. “The children enjoy it. The attendance is very good. They look forward to it.”
The school year’s activities ended with a final worship service to which parents and volunteers were all invited.
“In that service we were reminded that just as Dorothy and all of her friends were seeking something on their quest to go to see the Wizard of Oz, what we are seeking as Christians is something that can be found right at church,” Betsy said. “God wants all of his children to seek first the kingdom of God.”