The role of Biblical and Church festivals in the faith formation of children in Dutch Reformed rural congregations in eastern Mpumalanga
Muller, Johannes Petrus
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Faith communities underestimate the importance of the role of including children in their festival celebrations with a view to form (“mould”) their faith. This study investigated the present state of including children in the festival celebrations of four Dutch Reformed rural congregations of the eastern region of Mpumalanga by means of two qualitative methods, namely focus groups and in-depth interviews. Analysis of the focus group and interview data revealed that children mainly are observers during the festival practices. It also indicated that festivals may enhance the faith formation of children in a playful, friendly, loving and caring faith community. Four social theories, namely the social learning-, enculturation-, ecological system-, and socio-cultural theory were used to explain the present celebration practices. The role of Biblical festivals in the faith formation of children from the perspective of the festival calendar as presented in the book of Deuteronomy was explored and theological norms that can guide faith communities’ festival practices were deduced from it. In the final section, strategies to enhance the faith formation of children during festival practices were recommended in the light of the theological norms.
- Theology