Children and Youth Ministry Update from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
We’ve had an adventurous, itinerant, October, in the Children’s Ministry community, as we continued using our rented classroom at Regis High School. Exploring our relationships with God, friends, family, and ancestors, has raised intellectually and spiritually challenging questions for the children (and the adults who work with them!) Our response (to scripture) activities have included drawing (ourselves and our friends, with Jesus), dramatic play (doing our own version of the Jewish “Megillah,” while reading the Book of Esther) story-telling (true stories from our own lives, dealing with sin and forgiveness) and, finally, mask-making, to honor our familial and spiritual ancestors for Halloween/All Saints Day.
As I write this, we still don’t know whether we’ll be back under The Park’s roof in November, or still at Regis. This uncertainty comes with the territory of a transitional time, and, while I find it a bit stressful, I do understand the necessity of going-with-the-flow, and keeping the continuity of the children’s ministry program as best we can. With the help of our wonderful teachers, Ms. Glenda, and Ms. Laura, we’re all getting better at moving from place to place, smoothly and efficiently. (The fact that Ms. Glenda and Ms. Laura are secular school teachers, as well, gives them an advantage over me, in that they have lots of experience with moving groups of children around; I truly appreciate their skills in that area!)
What we do know about November, is that it will bring not just one, but two, special, community-building events, for children and families. First, on November 4th, Rev. Jeanette will lead an event around the celebration of Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) which will include a showing of the children’s animated movie, Coco, as well as teaching and guidance from Rev. Jeanette, about rituals and practices to honor and celebrate our loved-ones who have passed. This will begin right after service, at 12:30. Community members are encouraged to bring friends and neighbors.
Then, on November 11th, we will have our Thanks-giving and Receiving Swap Meet Party, where we will bring outgrown clothes, books, and toys, to trade and enjoy. Lunch will be served, and, in addition to the educational goal of learning conservation values, it is, very much, intended to be an informal, fun; social time for the children and their adults. For this event, as well, you are encouraged to invite extended family and members of your other communities. The party will start at 12:30, and be held in the sanctuary.
Giving thanks (to God and to other people) will be our general theme for the entire month of November. Activities will all revolve around noticing and appreciating our spiritual and material blessings, while seeking ways to express that thankfulness in the ministries of our day-to-day lives. This sort of reflection and response seems to come very naturally to children, and I am constantly inspired, by their examples, to “enter the realm of God like a little child.”
May the adults who, read this, remember to be kind to their own inner children, during these challenging times, as Jesus is always calling all of us to do.
Blessings, well wishes, and high hopes!
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister