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Xtreme Faith Stories shared at Bishop's Day

By Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch


A large group of children sat on the floor in matching T-shirts, with which they were newly adorned, attention riveted on the figure of Moses. This great hero of the faith stood among them telling his life story, a story of Xtreme faith. OK, so actually it was Father Joe De Acetis. Nevertheless, the children, ages ranging from seven to eleven, were enthralled by the telling.

After all, it is an exciting story: the burning bush, the plagues, the Passover, and finally the great escape through the parted waters of the Red Sea. For some of the children gathered, this was all quite familiar. Others heard aspects of this great hero’s life of faith for the first time.

Two stories unfolded simultaneously. On the surface was the story of Moses: bringer of the law, leader of the people of Israel, and a man of great faith and love. At the same time, it was the story of Joe De Acetis: believer in the law, follower of Christ, and also a man of great faith and love. Not only did Father Joe make a fabulous Moses, he also had his own faith story to tell. He modeled it there for the children that day as he chose to share a day of his life with them in the service of God.

So began our 2009 Bishop’s Day with Kids held August 15 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Children from all over the Diocese came to experience The Exodus Games: Xtreme Faith Stories!

With Bishop Jack as their host, the children heard the story of Moses, got to try their hand at parting the red sea, and made tambourines to celebrate their liberation. They also heard Peter’s harrowing experience of walking on water, made their own attempt at this feat, and constructed boats to remind them of being protected by God in any storm. They learned more about their Cathedral though a scavenger hunt in the nave, became part of one of the twelve tribes of Israel for a day, and partook in a Mediterranean feast at lunch time.

The day ended with an enthusiastic celebration of the Eucharist including dramatic readings by the children, wonderful songs that they had learned throughout the day and words of wisdom from Bishop Jack that inspired children and adults alike. It was a great day. An Xtreme day. A day of Christian formation.

And it was a day that never would have happened if it were not for the faith stories of a dedicated group of adults from around our diocese. This group spent months planning and preparing for this day. It was awe-inspiring to work with them. What would lead more than 15 adults and teenagers to volunteer a summer Saturday in the service of children? To freely offer their gifts of cooking, music, story-telling, crafts and creativity? What would inspire teens in our diocese to spend a day in church ministering to younger children in the name of Christ? I am sure the answers are as unique as the individuals. Perhaps not one of them would count their participation in Bishop’s Day with Kids an act of Xtreme faith. But I would. I am not sure which inspired me more; the crowd of children enthusiastically embracing a day of learning about Jesus, faith, and their Episcopal tradition, or the superb team of dedicated adults and teens who lovingly made it all happen.

I believe their lives of faith led them to this day of ministry with children. I believe that Xtreme faith stories are not found only in scripture. I believe embracing Christianity in the world today can be an act of Xtreme faith. I am convinced that coming together for a day as a community of believers and experiencing the Body of Christ in community, in faith and in the Eucharist nurtures not only the lives of those who participated, but also the communities in which they live. We are called to bear witness to Christ wherever we may be, and, according to the gifts given to us, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world (BCP p. 855). This is surely what took place at our Bishop’s Day with Kids.What is your Xtreme faith story?


Sarah Ace, friend of Shannon Cloke, Christ Church Stroudsburg


Front to back: Frank Cloke and Daniel Loedell, Christ Church, Stroudsburg; Adam Rizzo, Cathedral Church of the Nativity


Sam Loedell
Christ Church, Stroudsburg


Bishop Jack and (Back row, Left to right) Victor Velez (in motion), Hannah Alarcon (Christ Church, Reading), Isabel Alarcon (Christ Church, Reading), Olivia Perez, Lucy Kitch-Peck (Cathedral), Emma Gordon (Cathedral) and (Front row) Aiden Sweeley, Bishop Jack, Lily Heneghan (Cathedral), Ian Gordon (in motion, Cathedral)


Bishop Jack with Kids


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