Kids, pets, song, praise and God’s love all came together last Sunday. The folks at the Wesley United Methodist Church geared up for their “Half-Notes” children’s choir and their “Chronicles of Narnia” Bible study. Meanwhile, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, there was a blessing of the animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Half-Notes children’s choir at Wesley UMC is for children seven to 14, and this is the fourth year that Marian Colli has served as the choir’s director. Colli is a paralegal with the County Attorney’s office during the day. She has played the piano since the fourth grade and has sung in an adult church choir since the age of 12. To date, all the singers have been girls.
“They have beautiful voices, learn the music and words quickly and watch for direction when singing. It is a joy to work with them,” said Colli. Her goal is to have a group of children learn enough songs to be able to sing when needed at church or wherever they are asked to perform. “It would be great to have them perform locally for the community at special events.” The Half-Notes meets every Sunday at 11:45 a.m. and is open to children in the community.
She also looks forward to introducing them to more challenging music and harmony, but her short-term goal is Christmas. The biggest challenge of directing the Half-Notes is always scheduling; however, the members enjoy what they do and make an effort to be there, practice at home and learn the music and words. Colli recalled the first time the Half-Notes performed at the church. The slides in the back of church with the words stopped working. “The girls had practiced so much they kept right on singing and practically received a standing ovation, they were so good. They took pride in the job they did and really enjoyed performing. Their ability and talent really showed that day and my heart was full of happiness for them,” she said.
The “Chronicles of Narnia” study at the Methodist Church is also open to community children from preschool to age 12. Parents are also welcome. The 8:20 to 10:30 a.m. study group begins on Saturday, Oct. 10 and continues through Mar. 13. This is the second year that Jeannette Patterson will teach the Narnia series and a systematic Bible study using “The Victor Journey Through the Bible”. They will discuss the second book in the series, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” until Dec. 12. They will begin the third book in the series, “The Horse and His Boy,” on Jan. 16 and will continue to Mar. 13.
Patterson, a lawyer, said in her press release, “C. S. Lewis has been described as one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith in the 20th century. Literature can be an effective means to show the vitality and profound relevance of the Christian faith. The “Chronicles of Narnia” is a series of seven books, which C. S. Lewis called a, ‘fairy tale addressed to children.’ What makes Lewis a unique author are the two parts of himself that were developed during his early, formative years, the imaginative person and the logical person. Upon these blocks, his extensive literary legacy is built. Lewis is a logical intellectual who never outgrew fairy tales.”
“What could a children’s fairy tale teach me about the Christian faith?” This is an odd question, perhaps, as Jesus himself said that we must become as little children to enter the kingdom of God. The “Chronicles of Narnia” is not just for children. The series engages the reader in issues of universal meaning and Narnia reveals Christianity. In addition to the study, there will be a break for snacks and chess stations will be available.
Also on Sunday, the folks at St. Mark’s celebrated the pets in their lives at their annual Blessing of the Animals, in honor of the Feast of St. Francis, who was known for his love of animals. There was an assortment of dogs, ranging from an Afghan hound and a Louisiana catahoula to a pug-Chihuahua mix, as well as a rabbit and two turtles, for the service. St. Marks Rector Fr. Kyle Bennett presided over the service and personally blessed the pets while participants sang and prayed. Deceased pets were also remembered.
“It is right, and a good and joyful thing,” said Bennett, “Always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. We especially give thanks for the life and example of your servant, St. Francis of Assisi, and remembering his deep joy in all your creatures, we bring these animals before you and ask that you so bless and keep them that they may be for us daily reminders of your love and grace.”
The Humane Society was also at the service, with a Jack Russell terrier and a pug that were ready to be adopted. After the service, there were free hot dogs for the humans. One dog, however, did manage to steal a hot dog. Critter Café provided free pet treats. St. Mark’s Youth Group, headed up by Youth Minister Peggy Totten, provided free dog washes. Donations were accepted on behalf of the Humane Society.
Experience the amazing grace of our creator God and fellowship with His people. Attend a house of worship this weekend. If you have any service changes, new classes or special events, please send your news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various nonprofits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist.