Real Talk with Mary Ellen: A September 10th Reflection

These last days of summer! Already my sunrise routine is beginning to inch later as new fall rhythms take root.  In the early hours of morning I gird myself for the year ahead. The girding looks different than it did, say, 20 years ago. Back then I mused that Danny was an easy baby and our expanding family of 5 might momentarily be mobile and flexible. His “big” sisters were so intrigued and curious about life, could we squeeze in a trip abroad for later fall- before we were ladened with the inevitable strollers and equipment?

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How to Produce a Children’s Passion Play

Covid-19 continues to take its toll on every aspect of life. On December 20, 2020, something remarkable happened. The children of All Angels’ Church produced and premiered their first video Christmas pageant ever. Time stood still as all watched from all over. We struggled to put words to the grief, joy, loss, excitement, and delight that were stirred up. One viewer simply chatted in: holy ground. Indeed it was.

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Summer Campership Applications Are Open

January 12, 2021

Dear All Angels’ Families,

Maybe we don’t know what the summer will bring, but let’s hope! In this letter, you will find:

  • What is the All Angels’ Farm Summer Campership Fund?
  • How do I access a campership for my children?
  • Who qualifies to receive a campership?
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All Angels’ Parents: A 2020 Pageant Toolkit

November 18, 2020

The children of All Angels’ Church will not be bested by a pandemic. A pageant on zoom, nicknamed “Zageant” is underway. Below parents can access information and instructions for supporting their child’s participation in the 2020 Zageant.

Need to get in the mood? Check out our one minute version of the 2018 Christmas Pageant
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Children & Youth Ministry Update: October 2020

Jesus seemed keen on kingdom illustrations involving children and inviting children to come near. “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of God.” Mt 18:3. “…For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt. 19:14. We aren’t sure if Jesus was referencing an idolized innocent and eager child or if he was naming a disenfranchised population segment in a last shall be first kind-of-thing.  

Even as we figure out what Jesus meant, it’s safe to say that having children among us is part of how God sees his kingdom unfolding. We don’t champion an idolized, prototypical child;  at All Angels’ children are seen and heard. They’re messy, noisy, full of laughter and sometimes tears. We love finding ways children lead us

into worship. Erin Moughon-Smith is bringing her considerable talent as a drama teacher in NYC public schools to the pageant production this year.  We can’t have a live production with 200 of us squeezed into the sanctuary.  But children will tell the nativity story in their unique way, covid style: a Zoom pageant!

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Children and Youth Ministry Update – September 16, 2020

Dear All Angels’ Family,

In my mind’s ear, this letter is delivered via the voice of Vanessa Redgrave to the Call the Midwives tune. I binged watched seasons 7 and 8 during the lockdown.
Something like this:
We are reminded a church is its people, gathered by Love and gathered in love for one another, their Creator.  The thousand acts of kindness shown, even in the darkest times become the Light, the light that binds and nurtures us. In our questions, our concerns, our disappointments, we find we are given an ability to stand even though the ground appears obscured.
 
Hey! That does sound like Vanessa! I’ve told my own kids a thousand million times, you become like your friends.  You start to sound like the people you hang around with.  So choose your friends wisely.   Knowing this phenomenon to be true, I am finding every conceivable way to come close to God through scripture during this tough season.  The circumstances around Nate’s  resignation  are challenging.  That it falls at this time, embedded between one national and global disaster after another, gives it an unreal quality. To be honest, Vanessa Redgrave isn’t nearly enough. I need the full amour of God; I need to bathe in God’s Word so that my prayers, thoughts, words will fill, heal and guide my spirit.  I’ve moved my “Pray As You Go” app to the front page of my phone to make it easier to click…often. I’ll Zoom attend the Wednesday night prayer led by Carolyn Carney. Coming close to so much scripture, next time I write an email, I’ll probably sound like Paul himself.
 
On the children & youth ministry front, Jack and I have lovely fall plans to roll out with a weeknight senior high zoom meeting, young youth women’s prayer time, Sunday morning Children’s Worship with breakout groups for various ages. We’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks.  This coming Sunday, our priests, John and Jimmy, will visit Children’s Worship via Zoom. And then, at 10AM, in our communal worship service we will have Blessing of the Backpacks. What started in 2014, has quickly become an annual tradition. When we bless the students among us, we are empowering these young people as leaders in the intersection of faith and work.  Their receiving of the blessing proclaims there is no part of our lives that is hidden from God.
 
God bless you, All Angels’.
With love,
Mary Ellen Lehmann
Director of Children  & Youth Ministry
 

Brings A Smile to My Face

Do you need a smile? Consider these backstories producing a few of my recent smiles:

Chatting with Lina recently and she told me how much she loves Nighttime Prayer with Lucy and the two youth young women (Abby and Serena)

ME: what do you love about it?

LINA: sometimes we click on links to listen to daily examens on different subjects.  Last night we listened to one about aging and the lady said ‘perhaps you feel you are coming to end of your life…’  We all shouted we hope not!

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Real Talk with Mary Ellen: The Bottom Line

I know I’m in good company; you know, those of us who think of the thing they wish they had said but an hour later or a day later!  That’s me this week.  I had a blast getting to preach the sermon on Sunday. AND my Enneagram “1”-ness is playing a familiar tune: “I wished I’d said…”

I preached about our identity as sisters and brothers of Jesus closely intertwined with but superseding family, racial, and social identity. I talked about how we are formed and informed by the influences or voices, if you will, surrounding us.  New Yorkers now believe we are tough, smart, disciplined and loving because the Governor told us that every day for 108 days!  We believe what we hear.  And unfortunately, if we tell ourselves lies, we tend to believe those too.

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Children & Youth Update 6.9.20

Dear All Angels’ Family, It isn’t hard for adults to remember their child-selves eagerly awaiting summer vacation. My current angry-jumping-out-of-my-skin-screaming-on-the-inside feeling seems like a first cousin to that longing for languid summer days. Check out All Angels’ kids eager for school to be over. Kids might be looking forward to summer because they think it … Continue reading “Children & Youth Update 6.9.20”

Dear All Angels’ Family,

It isn’t hard for adults to remember their child-selves eagerly awaiting summer vacation. My current angry-jumping-out-of-my-skin-screaming-on-the-inside feeling seems like a first cousin to that longing for languid summer days. Check out All Angels’ kids eager for school to be over.

Kids might be looking forward to summer because they think it means…summer.  The rest of us are wondering what on earth does summer mean in 2020?  

Continue reading “Children & Youth Update 6.9.20”