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In Matthew 19: 14 Jesus told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”  In Matthew 18: 3 He added, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Children show us what it means to be humble and trust.

Lutheran CORE is very pleased to be able to offer a large number of resources on our website for pastors, lay people, and lay leaders of congregations.  We have suggested prayers of the church and hymns for each Sunday, daily devotions, and weekly lectionary-based Bible studies.  Links to these resources can be found here, here and here.

We are now very happy to be able to add weekly, lectionary-based children’s sermons.  Many thanks to ELCA pastor Jim Fitzgerald and his wife Hanna for providing this new resource.  Jim is pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fulton, Maryland.  A link to his children’s messages can be found here. 

The children’s sermons are focused on the lectionary, usually the Gospel.  Hanna plays a lamb puppet named Sammy.  Each week Sammy and the pastor have conversations about Jesus and the disciples.  Pastor Fitzgerald shares, “We keep the scripts simple, fun, easy to understand, and focused on Jesus.”  The scripts are written for young children under the age of twelve, but the Fitzgeralds have noticed that adults also have fallen in love with Sammy’s messages about Jesus.  Each week the Fitzgeralds provide a prop list and Scripture reading along with the script as well as information about each of the characters.  Their goal is to make the scripts “as accessible, readable, and easy to use as possible.”

I asked Pastor Jim how he and his wife became involved in providing children’s sermons.  He wrote –

“During internship, prior to his call to ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fulton, Maryland, Jim served at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania as a vicar. One of the pastors had conversations with ‘Donkey,’ the puppet his wife played. Jim watched each week as children filled several pews to hear about Jesus from Donkey and the pastor.

“The initial thought both Jim and Hanna had about these children’s sermons was how wonderful they were, but Hanna didn’t want to ever engage in playing a donkey puppet, and then their daughter was born. In October 2023, Pastor Jim was ordained, and he and Hanna began talking about how they could offer meaningful children’s sermons to the children at St. Paul’s. Hanna was not willing to play a donkey, but said she would play a lamb, as long as she could pick out the puppet (the puppet had to be cute). Sammy was born.

“Jim and Hanna started leading children’s sermons together at St. Paul’s Lutheran during the season of Advent in 2023. Working with Sammy, the lamb puppet, they had no idea how the congregation and children would respond to the weekly discussions Sammy and Pastor Jim had together. They had no idea how much the congregation would fall in love with the character of Sammy—and that love has to stem from the church’s deep love of Jesus.

“Each week, Pastor Jim reads the gospel and invites the children to come forward for a children’s sermon. During the time that the children are walking up the aisle, Hanna works her way behind the pulpit, grabs a handheld microphone, and becomes Sammy. One of the members of the congregation created a wooden frame with green felt on the front that slides into place next to the pulpit: Sammy’s meadow.”

A link to further information regarding “The Adventures of Sammy the Lamb” can be found here.

Lutheran CORE would like to thank Pastor Jim Fitzgerald and his wife Hanna for sharing this resource.  To contact Pastor Jim for questions or more information, please email him at pastorjim@stpaulslutheran.info.

The church’s mailing address is:

11795 Rte. 216,

Fulton, MD 20759

Phone: 301-725-0241

Photo of Pr. FitzGerald and Sammy the Lamb was taken by Sally Murphy.

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