You don’t want to miss this summer’s Vacation Bible School, which will be from 5:30-7:30 PM on June 19-21. We’ll tell the story of a powerful queen who saves her people from a sinister villain.
Following the example of both St. Stephen’s, Indianola and The Atlantic, the Nativity newsletter will only have one issue this summer. So, don’t go calling the office around Independence Day looking for another mailing! Everything you need for the next two months of Nativity programming is in here, server schedule and all.
Part of the reason for doing this, of course, is that this summer Sarah will be away for six weeks on educational leave as she continues pursuing her Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management at Notre Dame. As most of you all know, Sarah has been pursuing this degree through distance learning for the past two years, but the program requires a total of ten weeks of residential learning during the summer. She will complete that requirement this summer and is hoping to complete the program in December! While Sarah is away, I will be assisted in the office by Mary Gregory Porter – working on behalf of Fred T. Neely, Alicia Dallas, and Caroline Colquett. Thanks to these great leaders for their time and commitment to keeping the trains running on time!
In the meantime, we are looking forward as a community to two fun summer time activities. Vacation Bible School will kick into gear July 11-13 from 5:30-7:30pm, and our theme will be The Greatest Commandments. Over three nights, we’ll lead those kids entering 3K to 5th grade through activities that explore Jesus’ simple instructions for faithful living: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. As we have for the past many years, this program will be created entirely from scratch. VBS doesn’t come from a pre-planned curriculum at Nativity, which is both more challenging and more rewarding. As always, we will need volunteers both to assist in the programming and in the meals for these three nights.
But even before VBS, it’s time for the Nativity softball team to hit the field once again! In- side, you’ll find a schedule of all of our games. We have over thirty players who signed up to be on our team, which is about the size of an 8am Eucharist at Nativity! What that means is that every single game will be a great fellowship opportunity, both for the players as well as the fans who come to cheer them on. This was a highlight of last year for me, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again.
It should be a great two months together! After all this fun, I look forward to telling you what’s happening in August!
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!