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Help in the Storm (Peter 3)

June 21, 2010

The third Peter Walks on the Water lesson is intended to lead into Lent and offers the opportunity to introduce the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (the Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for sustainable development, relief, refugees, and global justice) as part of a parish-wide Lenten observance.

If you are not from the Anglican Church of Canada, feel free to swap out references to the PWRDF with your own church’s development agency, a non-denominational agency doing work you value and respect, or a project of your own parish.

If you do not observe Lent, you can simply cut that piece out of the Regrouping section of the lesson and explain where your church will send the money collected under the Helping Hands wreath.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • You will need to order any PWRDF resources (coin boxes, brochures, etc) you want to use well in advance.
  • You may want to spend some time on the PWRDF website or on, the PWRDF youth initiative, in order to have some current project examples to present to the class.
  • A piece of bristol board will work better for your display than other large sheets of paper – and might even survive for next year’s campaign.
  • The craft activity in this lesson is adapted from PRWDF’s own Sunday school lesson plan which can be downloaded here.

Help in the Storm

Before the Lesson

Determine where you will put your PWRDF display and make sure the area is ready.

Gather the PWRDF resources you are going to use.


  • Construction paper in a variety of colours
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • large piece of poster paper (ideally Bristol board)

Opening Prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Think of a time when you were really scared or hurt.

Did someone come help you? Who?

How did that make you feel?

Have you ever helped someone when they were scared or hurt?

Today, we’re going to read the story about Jesus’ disciple, Peter, trying to walk on the water during a storm. It was very scary. Let’s think about how Peter must have felt when Jesus helped him.

Read the Story

One evening, after a long day of teaching and working with the crowds who followed him, Jesus sent his disciples off in their boat to cross to the other side of the lake before him while he went for a walk up the mountain. He needed to be alone to think and pray. After a while, he went back to the lake but the boat was already far away from the shore, blown by the wind and the waves. By this time, it was very late at night and Jesus wanted to reach the boat. He started to walk across the water. When the disciples saw him, walking on the waves, they were terrified. “A ghost! A ghost! “ they cried.

Jesus heard them and he said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s just me.”

One of the disciples, named Peter, was still nervous and he wanted to make sure it really was Jesus. He said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to walk to you on the water.” Jesus answered, “Come on then”.

Peter carefully stepped out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus. He couldn’t believe it! He was walking on water! He looked around but when he saw the wind blowing and the waves crashing he got scared and he started to sink into the cold water. Peter shouted: “Jesus, save me!” Quickly, Jesus reached out and caught him. Peter grabbed hold of Jesus’ hand – it felt good to feel his teacher there with him. “Why did you get scared, Peter?” Jesus asked, “Why did you stop believing that it was possible?” Jesus helped Peter back into the boat with the other disciples and they all continued across the lake.

(Matthew 14:22-33)


How did Jesus help Peter? (Jesus gave Peter his hand)

How did Peter feel?

Have you ever helped someone? Have you ever been helped?

When we help other people, we are doing the work Jesus wants us to do. And when we all help, we can make even terrible things better.

Introduce the Activity

Does anyone know what the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (or PWRDF) is?

Explain that it is one way in which the Anglican Church does the work Jesus wants us to do by helping people around the world who do not have the health care or water or education or safety that all people should have. Offer a couple of examples or use the linked news update from PWRDF’s youth initiative, justGeneration, for some ideas of aid projects being implemented

Through PWRDF, we can reach our hands out to the people around the world, just like Jesus reached his hand out to Peter. Do you have any ideas of how we can help PWRDF? (e.g. give money, tell people about it, pray)

Helping Hands with PWRDF

Hand out construction paper and crayons. Ask everyone to trace their hands and cut them out. Help everyone glue their hands onto a large piece of paper, in the shape of a wreath with an opening at the top.

Explain that the opening is for the hands of all the people around the world who are joining us as we try to help people the way that Jesus wants us to.


Does anyone know what Lent is?

Lent is the season of the church year that comes before Easter.  It begins next week, on a special day called Ash Wednesday.

We use Lent as a time to think about the ways that God wants us to live.  We admit that we don’t always live the right way and we promise to keep trying.  We often make one or two special promises – such as not eating sweets or not watching television – as a way to help us remember what we are thinking about.  We also often spend more time thinking about and trying to help people who are in need.

This year, our church is going to think about the work that PWRDF is doing and raise money to help them.  Our wreath is going to help everyone remember what we are doing.

Label the picture “Helping Hands with PWRDF”. Together, set up a display of the wreath, the PWRDF materials your church is using, and a collection box.   Encourage students to take the coin boxes home, if appropriate.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the people who work at the PWRDF and for the people who give their money to help them. Help us always remember the people in the world who are hungry or thirsty or sick or in danger and thank you for giving us the ability to help them. Be with them in their need and be with us in our efforts to reach our hands out to them. Amen.

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