Children & Youth Ministry Update

Here we are. Or rather, there Jack is, in his living room, and here I am, in my living room.  Two weeks ago we were rolling out our exciting summer youth Rose Castle plans.  Today we find our worlds distilled down to some very basic objectives: mobilize (or virtualize) our ministry and support networks in order to care for one another now,  while simultaneously creating capacity  to build ministry for an uncertain future.

Forty-five current All Angels’ families are undergoing extraordinary adjustments as 67 kids adjust to transition to learning at home. I’m hearing that 15 college kids are unexpectedly home too.  The 12 baby siblings may be the only winners here with lots more excitement and company. 

We’ve made the first concrete steps of translating C&Y ministry to online zoom meetings.  Parents, children, youth,  and volunteers have downloaded “Zoom” on to their laptops and smart phones.  They find links which are like invitations that open the door to an online small group composed of all the people with that link.  The links are both emailed to families as well as found on the website within the notes section of the calendared events.  Anyone may join Children’s Worship 9:30 Sunday mornings. Kids attend other gatherings as well. 

It’s been a good start.  But it won’t be long until we learn that virtual and real-life are not even close to equivalent.  It’s like substituting flour when the recipe calls for “self-rising flour.” Jason Gaboury wisely wrote on Facebook the other night that lots of conversational tricks that work in person like asking open ended questions, don’t work in the zoom context! We are going to need an entirely new toolbox just to maintain small groups…never mind innovate and adapt to an unknown future.

Jack and Kate, Abi Fasehun, and I connect with our beautiful children & youth volunteers.  We are supporting one another, learning together, and meeting with the kids in some normal ways (albeit online):

  • Children’s Worship 9:30 Sunday Mornings
  • Sunday School with Hope Kidd for 1st/2nd grade
  • Sunday School with Erin Moughon-Smith and JennieBelle for 3rd/4th/5th grade
  • Junior High Youth Group
  • Senior High Youth Group

We’re  trying some new experiments too:

  • Monday and Thursday Children’s Night Time Prayer
  • Wednesday Teen Girls’  Bible Study 
  • Prayer time for Adults 

I pray this newsy update finds you well, safe, and equipped. 

Yours,
Mary Ellen

Author: Mary Ellen Lehmann

Director of Children & Youth Ministries at All Angels' Church in New York City. Mary Ellen and her husband, Mike, have been married 30 years, and have four children. Several of them are adults.

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