Each year on All Saints Day we set aside time in a worship service to acknowledge and bear witness to the lives of those we have lost. But this celebration is about more than remembering those who have completed their baptisms in death. All Saints Day reminds us that we are continually surrounded by those who have come before us and built up Christ’s church. We join their work as we live into discipleship.
You will need:
- A Bible
- A tray with several random objects on it, a cloth to cover the tray, a timer, paper, pens or pencils.
- Chart paper and a marker
- Foam board cut into the shape of a cloud, clothes pins, markers, and fine-line pens (optional)
Greet the children as they arrive.
Place the tray with objects covered by the cloth in a location where all the children can see it. Hand each child a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.
Say: Under this cloth is a tray filled with random objects. In just a moment, I will lift the cloth and you will have 30 seconds to notice all of the objects on the tray. When the 30 seconds is up, you’ll have 1 minute to write a list of the objects on the sheet of paper.
Set the timer for 30 seconds. Remove the cloth from the tray. When the timer goes off, reset it for 1 minute and remind the children to write down as many of the objects on the tray as they can remember. After 1 minute, ask them to share their lists.
- What objects were the easiest to remember?
- Which were the hardest?
- If you were asked to write a list of the objects on the tray tomorrow, would it be easier or harder to remember them? Why?
Exploring All Saints Day
Say a prayer.
Note that All Saints Day is on November 1, 2023. If your congregation is celebrating All Saints Day in your Sunday worship service(s) make sure children are aware of this.
Ask the children to share what they know about All Saints Day. Write their responses on the chart paper.
Show the video “All Saints Day For Kids.” After watching the video, have children share what they learned about the holiday. Add their responses to the sheet of chart paper.
Read aloud Hebrews 12:1-2. To help children understand the language in the text, you may choose to offer it in the Common English Bible or The Message translation.
After reading, ask:
- What do the words “cloud of witnesses” make you think of?
- How are the people who came before us a “cloud of witnesses” to our lives of faith?
- Who guides you in your faith journey?
Relating the passage to our lives
Cloud of witnesses activity
Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: foam board cut into the shape of a cloud, clothes pins, markers, and fine-line pens.
Place the foam cloud in a prominent location. Ask the children to recount the earlier discussion about the “cloud of witnesses.” Note that there are likely people who have passed away who are part of the “cloud of witnesses.” They may be people in the congregation or people who were part of their personal lives.
Give each child a few clothespins. Ask them to use the markers to decorate the clothes pins and the fine-line pens to write the names of “witnesses” who are no longer with us.
Then, ask them to clip the decorated clothes pins around the edge of the foam cloud.
Offer a prayer for the ways that these witnesses shared their faith.