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Children’s program features a Narnia theme

6/1/2006
General Convention isn’t just for grownups. Youngsters ages 4 to 12 can enter the magical world of Narnia, visit local attractions and worship together at the daily Eucharists at this year’s convention in Columbus, Ohio. Teens ages 13 to 15 are welcome to participate as program assistants.

The program will run June 11-21, with children welcome to participate every day or just part of convention. Child care is available from 7 to 9 a.m. for $10 each day. Space also will be available for nursing mothers.

The full-day children’s program costs $25 per day. Parents can sign their children up at convention, although organizers hope many will register before it begins so they know how many to expect.

Children will begin each day attending the convention Eucharist. Facilitators will lead them in the day’s reflection. Also, said Coordinator Rachel Friend, “the kids will be doing a craft every day that’s related to the lesson.”

Afterward, youngsters will receive their “train ticket” for a bus ride to nearby Trinity Episcopal Church, Capital Square, which will be transformed into Narnia. The program will use Leader Resources’ Aslan is on the Move curriculum, based on the C.S. Lewis book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The youngsters will see the movie based on the book, released last winter. “Then they will actually go through the experience of Narnia,” Friend said. “We are going to have a wardrobe door, so that they will be going through that into the Winter Room. They’ll be making Turkish delight. ... They’ll be getting gifts form Father Christmas.”

Children will plant flowers in the Spring Room that they later will  transplant into the church’s memorial garden. They’ll make treasure chests, shields and coronation banners.  Participants also will visit local sites including the zoo, a hands-on science museum and the Franklin Park Observatory for a “butterflies and blooms” program. A bus will return children to the convention center at the end of each day’s legislative session. They’ll return to their parents with a copy of the day’s Narnia Chronicle, which the older children will help produce.

Children’s activities and a respite spot for parents of little ones also will be available at the Discover Center in the exhibit hall. The center will include hospitality items such as diapers, bottled water, books and a rocking chair for parents of young children looking to change a diaper or relax, said Susan McDonald, assistant children’s program coordinator and bishop’s assistant for ministry with young people in the Diocese of Ohio.

Activities for children at the center include using different methods to tell their faith stories, said Jeffri Harre, Episcopal Church program assistant for children’s ministries and Christian education. Children’s program participants will visit the center twice.

Registration information for the children’s program and information on drop-in child-care sites for younger children, as well as the first Narnia Chronicle, are posted at http://www.dsoyouth.org/children/index.html. Or call Friend at 614-297-7420 for more information about the children’s program.

For information on the Narnia curriculum, contact Leader Resources at http://www.leaderresources.org/ or 800-491-2218.