Building Faith Brick by Brick

An Imaginative Way to Explore the Bible with Children

Emily Slichter Given

Sep/2014, 128 Pages, PAPER, 8.5 x 11

ISBN-13: 9781606741924



Engages children with multiple learning styles using a familiar medium—LEGO® bricks

Building Faith Brick by Brick offers a culturally relevant, hands-on way to explore faith stories with a broad range of ages. It grew out of one congregation’s realization that there was a large group of first-grade boys who needed to engage in a new way of interacting with the biblical story. Knowing how much Lego® bricks continue to be popular with children, the author dug deep into the well of creativity and an enormous bin of little plastic building bricks to meld together a new way of teaching the stories of God.

This book offers the methodology as well as thirty Old Testament and twenty-four New Testament stories with lesson plans.

For Christian educators, Christian schools, vacation Bible schools, parents, grandparents, godparents—anyone who desires to engage in sharing faith and biblical stories in any setting.

Emily Slichter Given serves as the Director of Parish Participation at Saint Thomas Church Whitemarsh in Philadelphia. She has a deep love for sharing the story of God with young people—in as many different ways as possible—and has worked on both the congregational and diocesan levels for close to twenty years. Her experience ranges from missions to mega churches. A mixed media artist and storyteller, she lives with her two daughters, Mckenzie and Scout, and a corgi-shepherd mix named Sherman.

"Building Faith Brick by Brick is a dynamic and palpable approach for children to encounter stories of faith in a rich new way. This acclaimed hands-on method of Christian Formation invites children’s imaginations to take flight and when this happens, the stories soon become real…block by block." 
—Roger Hutchison, Canon for Children’s Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina, and author of The Painting Table; A Journal of Loss and Joy

"Emily captures the essence of the meaning of the Christian story in the life of the Christian community. All of us, and children especially, are invited into an experiential, playful, and piece by piece exploration and building of the stories of faith. I highly recommend this book, its methods, and all the wonderful insights it brings. A must have, must use, must share book, and one that is guaranteed to bring meaning for years to come."
—The Rev. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones, award winning author of God Created and Jesus the Word, priest for pastoral care and community at Trinity Wall Street in New York City.

"Building Faith Brick by Brick is a unique way of meeting children where they are and engaging them in God’s story. Giving each child Legos and a blank canvas, Emily’s pedagogy links theology and practicality, encouraging children to wonder aloud about God in their midst. This guide helps both novice and veteran leaders facilitate a new way to imagine scripture and engage the energetic and creative children within and outside our parish walls. With a gentle spirit Emily encourages and equips children and adults to see Scriptures come alive and marvel at God's creation."
—The Rev. Abigail W. Moon,  Associate Rector for Christian Education and Outreach,  St John’s Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, Forida.

"Building Faith Brick by Brick is a fresh and practical approach to whole community faith formation glued together with a deep reverence for the power of stories retold and propped up with LEGO® bricks  Emily introduces us to pint-sized prophets and larger than life encounters with a wild Spirit. Her grasp of “boy faith” is brilliant - so needed right now in our churches. Warning: this guide will draw you in. You will not be the same after Emily Slichter Given is finished stirring your imagination!"
—The Rev. Thomas Brackett, Missioner, New Church Starts & Missional Initiatives, Episcopal Church Center, New York, New York

"Building Faith Brick by Brick is a wonderful resource for encountering God, God's story, and your story through the use of LEGO® bricks  It invites children to engage the Bible by creating the stories with their imagination and their own two hands. The key stories of the Bible are presented in easy to follow lesson plans with simple foundational information and Building Questions anyone could use. This is a must have for any Christian Formation library and I can see it being used in a wide variety of settings including Vacation Bible School, summer Sunday programs, Camps, after school programs, and of course Sunday mornings."
—The Rev. Shannon Kelly, Associate for Curriculum Development, Living Compass, Consultant for Lifelong Formation, The Episcopal Church, New York, New York

"Creative, Engaging, Timely, and Biblical! Building Faith Brick by Brick is a terrific new resource that immerses children in the "big" Bible stories by engaging their senses and natural creativity. This is a great resource for families with children and for congregational education programs. And grandparents should use Emily's approach with their grandchildren when they visit. It's a great way to read the Bible and use all of those LEGO® bricks!"
—John Roberto, Lifelong Faith Associates and author of Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century

"In Building Faith Brick by Brick, Emily Given provides a creative, clear and comprehensive resource for scripture studies with children and LEGO bricks. Whether you find a place for these wonderfully fun and surprisingly deep activities in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Children's Chapel, in school or at home, this is a book that will fully engage both kids and the adults who teach them. It's also an invitation to explore the Bible unlike anything else on your bookshelf. You'll want this book, and chances are, you'll want lots of LEGO® bricks to go with it!"
—Wendy Claire Barrie, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, St. Bartholomew's Church, New York City

"The great need in the church today is for resources, centered in Scripture, that deeply engage each child in their growing life in Christ.  Building Faith Brick by Brick is an amazing response to the need and is so impressive because it uses a new language, a Lego language, for faith expression. Teachers can now teach children in Sunday school by binding religion and play; by entering into a place of Joy and wonder doing theological reflection that builds upon questions of faith, brick by brick.  Children can build on their own, or in small groups, everything is awesome because basic blueprints are included with a FAQ section that is absolutely so helpful to any parent or educator. This curriculum can serve as a powerful tool to aid congregations and Christian families as they pursue their goal to pass the faith to the next generation."
—The Rev. Robyn Szoke-Coolidge, Dean, Stevenson School for Ministry, Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

"Like some of the more interesting inventions that have shown up serendipitously or because of pressing necessity, Brick by Brick is a program that we’ve needed for a while and didn’t know we needed.  The individual lessons are fun, full of good, tasty content and blooming like the yeast of Jesus’ parables with provocative "wondering" questions.  I really appreciated, however, two things that we rarely see elsewhere: Emily’s research into what she calls "boy faith" and her advice on doing Bible with kiddos, both in the introductory section and well worth reading.  Building Faith Brick by Brick belongs on the bookshelves of our congregations; more than that, it belongs in the hands and in the playbooks of everyone responsible for the Christian Formation of children."
—Victoria L Garvey, Associate for Lifelong Christian Formation, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

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