For the Spring of 2018, we are creating a new service opportunity for our 5th-8th grade youth on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. Instead of Sunday School, these members of our church will be invited to assist with our youngest Godly Play classroom. As our 3k-5k Godly Play teachers can attest, we have lots of energy to manage in that room! Before assisting, youth will be invited to attend a brief training with our Godly Play teachers so that they can understand the particular format of the program and how they can be helpful. After attending the training, these youth will be scheduled as helpers just as adult teachers are. Our hope is that their participation will continue to nurture a spirit of service in our youth while also exposing them to the rich biblical teaching of Godly Play.
Discernment, I’ve been told, is figuring out what is next and what is not next. The fallow time that is summer in the church is a blessing in that it invites us into discernment. Though our farmers are hard at work now, for those of us whose lives are tied to the school calendar, the summer provides a moment to stop and wonder about what it is that God would have us do next.
In our church family, a number of your leaders have been discerning with me the shape our Christian formation programming will take down the road. Christian formation is a term I use to encompass every part of our life together that helps us to grow in the knowledge and love of God. Sunday School is the obvious example, but youth group, children’s chapel, Emmaus small groups, and Mission Mississippi prayer breakfasts are all part of how we do Christian formation. Here are a few of the things your leaders have been working on:
Junior High Sunday School: Two years ago we made an attempt at starting a Jr. High Sunday School class. As we have more and more children in this age range, a number of us discerned it was time to make another go of it. Emily Riser has offered herself as the leader of this new class that will cover the 5th-8th grades. For her curriculum, she’ll be using Sparkhouse’s re:form, a program that invites emerging young adults to tackle questions together about the Bible, the creeds, Jesus, and other topical concerns. You can learn more at wearesparkhouse.org/teens/reform/core.
Adult Forum: Beginning this Fall, our Sunday learning for adults will take a slightly different form. We’ll move out of the current classroom and set up in the parish hall. Want to sit and listen and talk about the day’s topic while eating your breakfast casserole? Great! Want to sit and chat about the weather? Well, you might want to do that in the Bishop’s Hall. In addition to the new space, the teaching burden will be spread around a bit more. Look for programs led by yours truly as well as other Nativity members and friends.
Godly Play: This Montessori-based approach for our 3-6 year olds is off and running. Lindsay Powers, Kim Lassiter, Cindy Wilson, Tish Goodman, Sherrie Peel, and Kathy Whicker have agreed to be our teachers, and most of them will travel with me to Sewanee the last week in July for a four day training in the program. Look inside for ways that you can help fund the startup of this program!
Emmaus Groups: Many members had very positive experiences last year with these small groups that gathered on a monthly basis for fellowship and learning. Look to hear more in August about joining a group for the first time or reconvening last year’s group.
Wednesday Bible Study: Frances Lavelle and I have discussed beginning a simple bible study after the 10am Wednesday service. Would you be interested in that? Let me know!