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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Date: September 30, 2020

As you’ll recall, previous commentaries have highlighted the work of TryTank, which “offers inventive approaches to the challenges facing the Episcopal Church.” Sometimes this is by design, and sometimes, inspiration hits.     In 2019, data suggested that the new “norm” for church attendance is once every four to six weeks, which means that if attendees have children, they are going to Sunday School every four to six weeks. It is hard to develop Christian formation in children when they only get bits and pieces. And then inspiration hit: What if there was a “Mr. Rogers” type of show that taught Christian formation to kids at home? The idea went into development, expanded, and changed. In the end, Prayer Puppets was created.     Think of it as a Christian Sesame Street, putting out new episodes regularly to teach Christian formation. Prayer Puppets will use lots of color and repetition to teach three things: 1) There is a God. 2) You are beloved by God. 3) You can pray to God, who listens. There will be many themes, but the goal is to always teach those three points. The show is aimed at 2-5 year-olds. Episodes will also have songs to reinforce the themes (and they are catchy!).      As Prayer Puppets was developed, we wanted ALL of God’s children to be able to see themselves. Our main character is Pax, a gender non-binary puppet. Other characters are different colors and have different personalities. On purpose, they are all very different, and yet, they all very much belong.  TryTank will produce three episodes of Prayer Puppets, which will be available right after Thanksgiving.  The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.  Dean and President

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