Welcome and Logistics

Welcome to
on the chancel steps!

me on the Brooklyn Bridge
photo by Tim Nunnally

My name is Frances Woodruff and I am a child of God. I started doing children’s sermons as a lay leader at White Bluff United Methodist Church in Savannah, Georgia, back in 1988. My work as a children’s librarian helped me develop 5-minute sermons in the language of a 4 year old. Later I moved to Brevard, NC, attending St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, and I encountered the Godly Play program. In 1999, I moved to Birmingham, AL, and joined the children’s sermon team at Edgewood Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). Through my faith journey of 48+ years and my 20+ years working with and teaching children in libraries and schools, I have developed a method for crafting a few moments on the chancel steps.

better photo of me
by Tim Nunnally

This site came online July 7, 2011. My purpose is to inspire and support others who are helping to bring the children unto Him. Using the upcoming Sunday lectionary text, I will post a children’s sermon each Monday. Feel free to use these sermons making your own personal adjustments–just don’t publish these in any form, especially for profit, without my written permission. When needed, I have cited my sources as any good librarian will, but for the most part these sermons are inspired by the Holy Spirit and the children of God around me. All of this sounds so pretentious, but I just want to offer a resource for this important ministry which allows the children to feel loved by the church and to participate in the church, and to give parents a child-relevant point for discussion from the lectionary.

You will notice that my sermons follow a formula. (You can find more information on my page: The Ten Commandments of Children’s Sermons.)

1. Welcome
2. Story
3. Bible Story
4. Connection between my story and the Bible story
5. Echo Prayer

And so, with God’s help, let us see where this green growing time will take us.

Peace of Christ,

Frances Woodruff
chancelsteps (AT) gmail (DOT) com

15 responses to “Welcome and Logistics

  1. And St. Philip’s misses you even still…..

  2. Thank you! I have been working all week to craft a sensible alternative to the simple “we all make mistakes, so we have to forgive” kids’ sermon on my favorite site offered every three years for the usual RCL gospel that this year “just happens” (what a God-incident!) to be September 11. The Lord finally inspired the right google-ing to get to your site. I love the way you share your journey. Be God’s!

  3. Hi Frances,
    Enjoyed reading your blog and just wanted to encourage you. Liked the idea of your blog so much I’ve added you to my blogroll at aweirdthing.wordpress.com. Hope you get some new visitors.

  4. Glad to have met you, Frances! Thank you for your good work and for your kind note! I enjoy following your blog and think you do a fantastic job at organizing it!

  5. Mrs. Woodruff, you cannot imagine how helpful your site is to our small, rural church. Our pastor has asked that members of the congretation take over the Sunday Children’s Sermons. Of course, I ran to my computer to find suggestions. Thank goodness, I found your site. I shall share your stories, suggestions and Ten Commandments of Children’s Sermons with others in our church. Thank you

    • Dearest Donna,
      Glad to have y’all on the steps! I do this to help…to help people share God’s love with children, and I appreciate you letting me know that I am being of service to you. Peace of Christ be with you. Frances

  6. So glad to find you! I am serving as Director of Family Ministries at Skidaway Island UMC and love that you were here at White Bluff UMC. Thanks for this resource!

  7. I have not received posts for the past couple of weeks are you still posting children’s messages to follow lectionaries? I so enjoy reading your blogs.

    • Thanks Jane! I have completed the 3 year Revised Common Lectionary cycle so there are sermons to match each week albeit you will need to go back to the beginning of this blog and see the sermons from 3 years ago. I plan to continue sporadically and on High Holy Days, but for now I’m taking a break. (I’m not sure how real preachers do this every week year in and year out!) It is an amazing experience and I appreciate your kindness. My next post will be for the Blessing of the Backpacks in August; we will celebrate ours on Aug 10, so I will post my sermon a couple of weeks before then. Thanks again. Peace, Fran

  8. valerieburton

    Missing your children’s sermon entries Fran. I hope you are well. Curious about your absence.

    • Thanks Valerie! I guess I need to do an independent post as the sidebar explanation doesn’t seem to be working. I’ve completed the 3 year RCL cycle so I’m taking a break. Older sermons can be accessed through the Lectionary and Scripture Indexes. I will continue to do some random sermons and the High Holy Days. Hope you are well too…let me know if you need anything in particular. Peace, Fran

  9. Pingback: Who is worthy to receive? – WIT

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