Pentecost!

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Pentecost is a Christian holiday that is celebrated fifty days after Easter – landing on June 8 this year. It is a very interesting story (found in Acts 2) of the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples as “tongues of fire” and allowing people to speak in many world languages they had not known previously, but still able to understand one another. It is a great opportunity to talk about languages and the power that can come from understanding one another across language difference. Pentecost can be a great opportunity to learn a few words in a different language or to think about non-verbal communication and ways to show hospitality and friendship that don’t rely on words.

Pentecost is also known as the birthday of the church, the birth of a movement that led to what we now know as Christianity. There is a strong “go out into the world” impulse in the story – a call to be church in our everyday lives and to be a church that is engaged and responsive to needs in the community and the world. The image of the spirit as wind, propelling us forward really connects to that I think. The season of Pentecost can be a great time to fly kites, be out in the wind, imagine how the spirit moves us to particular actions, and connect with the idea of the breath of God sustaining us in our lives.

Tree Planting!

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A few weeks back, a great group of about 20 people of all ages participated in a tree planting day put on by the City of Toronto at Newtonbrook Park. It was a lot of fun – despite a bit of a drizzle at the end!

When you do something outdoors, consider asking your kids where they feel/see/hear God. How does how we treat the environment around us relate to how we connect to God? How does the way that the natural world affects us connect to how God relates to us as humans? There are many metaphors and images in the Bible that relate to things like seeds, winds, trees, growth, rocks…can you think of others? And find them in the Bible?

Looking back, looking ahead!

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This is the time of year where we often reflect back on what the year has been, and look forward and begin planning for what is to come in September. This image was taken at one of our Messy Church sessions when we asked the question “what is the church” and explored how the church could be more accessible, welcoming, and honouring of/to kids! Adults completed a survey and kids engaged the question in a variety of ways – including building representations of kid-friendly churches with blocks and taking the floor plan of the church building and creatively re-imagining the space. Kids also brainstormed the values they thought church should have and the things that could be done to live out those values practically. Thanks, everyone! 

This is something that can also be done at home or as a family. When you are walking or driving, look at different church buildings and consider how they represent welcome more broadly, and to kids specifically. Visit other churches to get new ideas and to experience being a newcomer/visitor. Talk to your kids about how they feel when they come to Fairlawn and how they feel when they leave. Share ideas and reflections with me or anyone else in leadership!

Podcast!

I had fun recording a podcast with my colleague Kristin, who is the Minister to Children and Youth at Rosedale United Church. If you have time, please listen to it and tell me what you think! 

It is Episode 5 at: http://rosedaleunited.org/podcasts/

Episode 5, Church: A One-Of-A-Kind Experience

Being a part of a faith community is a unique experience that enriches every aspect of our lives.  This podcast will get you thinking about how to honour and protect the place of  faith among the weekly to-do.

Join us in engaging conversation designed  to help you LEARN and GROW!  Listen while you commute, exercise, or do chores around the house. It’s like being part of a small group discussion  without leaving the comfort of your home. Happy listening!

Confirmation Sunday and BBQ!

This year we have had an awesome group of 10 youth who have taken part in our confirmation class program. The youth have talked about faith, the Bible, the Fairlawn Call process, faith and social justice, the Christian seasons, Christian symbols, discernment, church membership….and a lot more! The class also took leadership in some of our services during Holy Week/Easter. In addition to the classes, each of the youth were invited to try out three leadership roles in the church – being an usher/greeter, counting offering, reading scripture, helping in the nursery, attending a committee meeting, etc.! The hope is that having taken part in confirmation, youth will be ready to be full members of the church and to live out their faith in their everyday lives as well. Please speak with me if you have any questions or you know of someone who might be interested in confirmation next time – in the future, confirmation will be open to anyone in grade 9 or older!

The confirmation service will take place on Sunday, June 1 during the morning worship service. Please take a moment to congratulate and welcome our newest members after the service!

After the service there will also be our annual BBQ – join us for games, cake, side walk chalk, bubbles, and more!

http://www.fairlawnchurch.ca/events/bbq/

Mentors…

The Princeton Forum’s Institute on Youth Ministry focused a lot on mentorship this year, and it’s been something I’ve been thinking a fair bit about too. It’s something we’ve tried to embed in our confirmation program – matching confirmands with members of the congregation. 

At the same time, there are certain things that happen uniquely in Christian institutions of education that make a profound difference in your likelihood to succeed. Principally, it’s about having a formative relationship with a mentor.”

Hmm. Does this resonate with your own experience? 

http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/4203/the-hidden-curriculum-of-leadership/

Consent and kids

Everyday Feminism is a great website that I enjoy reading articles from, on a wide range of issues. This article was shared by a friend and really got me thinking. I thought some of you might also find it interesting. Let me know what you think!

“Interrupting can be rude and it’s very polite to interrupt in a non-verbal way if you can. And it’s also important to teach kids the difference between an emergency that they would need to just burst in and start screaming about and “I want a juice box,” which maybe want them to wait a second because you’re on an important phone call.

So, I don’t have a problem with the idea of teaching your kids the etiquette of interruption. However, the article talks about never interrupting adults, because you need to respect your elders. And that terminology really rubbed me the wrong way. The idea that because someone is older than you that what you think matters less, is nothing but a power play.

It’s teaching them that the person who is older, bigger, stronger is more important than what they want. And then we wonder why we sometimes have adults that are in abusive relationships. When really we’ve modeled for them that size equals power, age equals power, you know whatever characteristic there might be, equals power, and that means that your ideas are less than that person who has the power.”

http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/ways-parents-teach-consent-doesnt-matter/