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Join Francis, Clare, and all their friends as they explore the wonders of God's world learning to love and care for all of creation.
Vacation Bible School
St. Francis
St. Clare
family nature


Welcome! We are having all kinds of fun exploring nature together in the Clubhouse. You and your children can join us to go on adventures with Francis, Clare, Danny the Donkey, Olivia the Owl, Sally the Squirrel and Rich. Click below to join today!

faith and nature

What is Francis and Friends?

Children are naturally open to wonder, amazement, beauty and sensing the presence of God, especially through time spent out in nature. But faith formation too often fails to connect them to the a sense of awe.  It is time to turn that model upside down and give our kids the connection to God, others and themselves they deserve and that parents, teachers, and pastors look for but can't find.


Francis and Friends is a new "faith and nature" resource to meet kids where they are and then get them back outdoors: to be filled with awe and wonder and to strengthen family bonds. Francis and Friends is built upon the loving, inclusive teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare and it centers each child’s life in the Great Commandment to love God with all our Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength.


Most of all, it helps families and faith communities engage in faith and nature play and have FUN together!

Francis and Friends is a program with five units:


  • Introduction: God loves everything God has made

  • Heart: We are called to help others

  • Soul: We are called to live as members of one family

  • Mind: We are called to live in God's kingdom

  • Strength: We are called to live simply and joyfully


Theme: God loves everything God has made

Scripture connection: The Great Commandment (Mark 12:30)

Earth connection: All Creatures

Francis connection: the Canticle of the Creatures

Developmental connection: loving creation starts with loving self

Choose how you will use the program:

Family Clubhouse Membership


Families who join the Francis and Friends Club will receive:

  • a downloadable, full-color workbook (pdf) that guides your family through the program

  • a special password-protected Clubhouse website that is safe for kids

  • a unique video for each of the five units featuring puppets Danny the Donkey, Olivia the Owl and Sally the Squirrel sharing their life challenges with Pastor Rich

  • 5 cartoons of the stories of Francis and Clare

  • over 30 different fun, simple, and little or no-cost activities to go out and do that connect with the lessons learned in the videos

Group Curriculum Membership


For Nature Clubs, Vacation Bible School, seasonal Sunday School, Religious Schools, etc. receive everything included in the Family Membership, plus:

  • downloadable, reproducible Leaders’ Guide

  • downloadable, reproducible workbooks for kids

  • links to all 5 downloadable videos

  • suggestions for finding local faith and nature resources

  • suggestions for songs and worship

  • suggestions for decorations

  • downloadable Promotional Video

  • downloadable, printable Promotional Posters

  • and more!

About Us

Francis and Friends is created by Rev. Rich Nelson and a group of amazing contributors. You can learn more about Rich and his ministry at, including his innovative discipleship resource for adults called following The Way®.  


Email signup

Keep in touch, receive special offers, and new resources from the creator of Francis and Friends, Rev. Rich Nelson

Did you enjoy Francis and Friends?

I hope so. I created Francis and Friends to help parents, pastors, and educators introduce children to the wonderful stories and lessons of St. Francis and St. Clare. It was a labor of love. Though I am offering the program for free, it still takes money to maintain the site and program and continue to develop other following The Way resources. If you're inclined to make a donation of some kind for using this program, you can do so over on the main following The Way website.

Christ's peace, Rich

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