Children and Youth Ministry Update from Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
It’s exciting to prepare for my first Easter with The Park. Our Sunday school children are anticipating the celebration with great joy; I hope and pray that it will be a wonderful experience for them, and will do all within my power to make it so.
In March, we walked the Lenten path together, focusing on ways to be of service in our church community and the world, inspired by the example of Jesus and the first disciples. Striving to make sacred space, in our hearts as well as our physical environment, we created gifts for loved ones and symbolic decorations for our Children’s Ministry area. I introduced the song “Simple Gifts,” which seems, to me, particularly appropriate for Lent, as we find freedom in simplicity and, “by turning and turning” (repentance) we “come ‘round right.” We also started the process of increasing children’s visible presence in the sanctuary liturgy, by having them join in the Palm Sunday procession. There will be more of that happening in the future, as children continue to process, do readings, and bring the offerings, on coming Sundays.
After our festive Easter Sunday (with an indoor Easter egg hunt for the children) we will spend April thinking about various kinds of sacred sharing (our material goods, our stories, our time; our thoughts and ideas). We will be socializing together with intention, engaging in dramatic play, doing creative writing and crafts; all in expression of what we are learning together, as a caring and sharing faith community.
As I write this, I am remembering the inspiring experience that I had last Saturday, while participating in the March For Our Lives; so many children and teenagers, standing up for themselves and their future; leading the way to a more peaceful and hopeful world. As an adult working with children and youth, in these tumultuous times, I am aware of being very privileged. It is my desire to be a supportive mentor and source of encouragement in their lives, as they find their own paths, faith expressions, and vocations. I am an “older” person in this work. Old enough to be a grandparent to most of the children in The Park Sunday school. I am striving to bring the gifts of my experience and time on this planet to our young ones, while nurturing my own inner child, practicing constant resurrection, and learning with them, even as I also teach.
Blessings, well-wishes and high hopes for all of us!