Children and Youth Ministry Update from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato

November 13th,2020 Categories: Latest News
Dear Park People,

On Sunday November 8th, I was excited to lead my first lesson incorporating The Mystic Bible, which is a wonderful interpretation of the Gospels for children, by Alexandra Sangster. The art work is truly beautiful, and the language is simultaneously poetic and accessible for children. We read about Jesus’ teaching on God’s care for all of creation, including the flowers, the grass; the little birds…from the Mystic Bible: “He said: Look at the little sparrow and the lilies in the field. God is holding them all in love.”

While listening to this reading, the children had been drawing (some using paper; others their dry-erase boards) beautiful images of all of the life-forms in God’s care. In our conversation, I made reference to another part of the reading: “Do you ever feel really small? Like a tiny sparrow hopping around on the ground, with the world so big all around you?” It was at that point, that one child broke my heart, by saying, “It’s hard to feel that way when you’re inside all the time.” (Bam! Back to our difficult, present reality.) I asked, “All the time? Do you get to go out and play in the park?”
Child: “Sometimes.” Me: “Good! I know we’re inside a lot more than we used to be, and it IS hard.”

At that point, we segued to the children’s drawings, with each child holding their work up, to be admired by the others. I think that the children enjoyed the rest of their time together. They do seem to really appreciate the opportunity to connect with their Sunday school community. I cherished that joy on their behalf, while setting an inward intention to remember that things are, in some ways, harder for children (who have so much less agency than adults) to pray for them, and seek ways to make them feel empowered.

On Sunday November 15th, we’ll be reading a Christian story book, called “God Bless My Friends,” (by Hannah C. Hall) which describes the many ways that different friends (portrayed as animals; tigers, monkeys; squirrels; turtles) help each other and have fun together, using their varied physical gifts. The idea of this story is that it’s really good to be friends with those who are different from you; the blessings of diversity. I’m hoping to spark some lively conversation about the children’s circles of friends, and inspire some beautiful collaborative writing, as we work together to create our own prayer of blessing for our friends.

Blessings and well wishes as always,
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister