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Reply to "ART Workshop Lessons & Ideas about Peter and Cornelius, Peter's Rooftop Vision"

Peter and Cornelius

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will make soap sculptures that signify to them the Holy Spirit. We will lead into a discussion about clean and unclean.

Scripture Reference:

Acts 10:1-11:18

Outcome Objectives:

  • Children can state one or two things about the Holy Spirit
  • Children have engaged in a creative imagining process about the Holy Spirit.
  • Children understand that it is God who declares people good/clean, not us.

Bible Background:

is found in the Bible Background forum.

Supplies Needed:

  • Newspaper (lots of it) for covering floors and tables
  • One bar of Ivory soap per student, plus a couple of extras in case some break
  • Safe sculpting tools such as craft sticks and large and small paper clips.
  • Bibles
  • Restful music or nature noises and CD/tape player

Advance Preparation:

  • Read the biblical background notes and answer the questions raised in the “themes” section to figure out what this story means to you.
  • Read through the lesson and decide how best to manage your time.
  • Make a soap sculpture yourself so you can learn what works best. A very important hint is to always keep the soap in your hand when pressing down – otherwise the soap will crack.
  • Be familiar with the story so that you can summarize Acts 10:1-23 for the children. Decide which verses from the remaining scripture you want to read together and which you want to summarize.

Lesson Plan


Have a discussion about the Holy Spirit:

  • Have you ever seen the wind?
  • What does the wind look like?
  • How do you know the wind is around?
  • Have you ever heard of the Holy Spirit? What do you know about the Holy Spirit?
  • Can you see the Holy Spirit?
  • How do you know if the Holy Spirit is around?

Explain that we are going to read a story that includes the Holy Spirit.

Summarize Acts 10:1-23.

  • What do you think it means to call someone “unclean”?
  • Why do you think Peter thought Cornelius was unclean?
  • Was Cornelius really unclean, or was that just Peter’s prejudice?

Read together or summarize Acts 10:24-33, 44-48.

  • Who did the Holy Spirit rest on?
  • How do you think Peter knew that the Holy Spirit was on Cornelius?
  • Can people who have the Holy Spirit be unclean?


Explain that we are going to make a sculpture to remind us of this story. Explain that the children are going to imagine what the Holy Spirit might look like, and carve it out.

Explain that to remind us that anyone who has the Holy Spirit is “clean” we are going to carve out of soap. Explain the best techniques to do this, emphasizing the need to hold the soap in your hand so that it doesn’t crack, and to scrape gradually rather than dig quickly.

As children are working, consider playing some restful music in the background or some nature sounds music so that they can get a feel for the Holy Spirit.

If their sculpture breaks, see if they can reinterpret their piece using two pieces. If not, give them a second bar of soap to use.

Note that soap flakes get slippery and that the soap will sting if they touch their eyes. Make sure you work on several sheets of newspaper and roll up and discard newspaper as it gets filled with soap. Clean up well.

Life Application:

Invite children to share their Holy Spirit sculptures, explaining what they were trying to do.

Clean up and wash hands.


  • Are you physically clean, now?
  • What made you clean?
  • What about spiritually? Are you spiritually clean?
  • What makes you spiritually clean?
  • If you take this Holy Spirit soap home and use it to wash up this week, what do you think it will remind you of?
  • Who does the Holy Spirit make clean?

Say a closing prayer that includes phrases such as “put a clean heart in me” and “remind me to see others as you see them.”



Who is clean in God’s eyes?

Adjustments for age levels and abilities:
For little children try soaking your soap bar for several hours and let them smush it into a new form on a paper plate. Test ahead of time to see how long soap should soak. Be extra careful that they don’t touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

If you have extra time…
Continue reading your Bible into Acts 11. Why do you think the apostles reacted as they did?

If time runs short…
You will need at least 20 minutes for the sculpture and 15 for cleaning up and closing discussion. Be sure to limit opening discussion and make sure you are able to summarize the scripture as needed. Reading everything word for word will take too long.

What ritual could you suggest for children to use with their soap during the week?

A lesson written by Lisa Martin from: Trinity UCC
Pottstown, PA

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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