For the month of October, I will be reflecting on St. John’s new Mutual Ministry goals for 2020/2021. They came out of a session of discernment with parish council in the summer. I am excited by them, and I hope they will guide our energy, ministry and prayer in the coming year. How will you join in?
Goal #1: Children & Families.
Before becoming an ordained minister, most of my experience has been working with young people, and so, I am glad that this is on the heart of our council right now.
Since we have resumed in-person services, we have been richly blessed by the presence of children in our worship. Their presence and participation is a gift. They make our worship – they make us – so much better.
One thing that I hope you notice in this mutual ministry goal is that it is not about “getting” more children and families. I think this mentality is counterproductive. It commodifies people, and it does not feel good to be “got.” Rather, this goal is more about us. It is about “making children and their families feel welcome at St. John’s.”
What this looks like might be different than what we usually think of as children and family ministry (though it might not, I’m not completely sure).
It might start really small and simple. So far, it has been colouring pages that are changed out every week; it has been a children’s time as a regular part of our service; it has been setting up a little space in our sanctuary that is especially for them. My hope is that by this they will know that they belong here, that they are loved by God, that this community is a good, safe place for them to be.
I need your help with this. I need your help to not treat children and their families like commodities, but like honoured guests, like family. I invite you to treat children and families with respect, with flexibility, with understanding, with compassion and with St. John’s characteristic warm welcome.
This is my prayer and my hope. Let us work towards being a community where little feet and laughter is a welcome part of our shared life and prayer, because they are our teachers on how to be citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Thanks be to God!