Posted in Children and Youth

Dads lead Sunday School!

While moms and teachers were attending the women’s retreat last weekend, the dads combined forces to lead the Multiage and Middler classes in a lesson with lots of action and energy. Beginning with an interactive drama (that we will perform on Children’s Sunday!) featuring some disciples, a jail, chains, and an earthquake, the kids (and dads) jumped right into the fun. Upon reflection after the drama, the children thought about what binds them (worries, nervous thoughts, insecurities) and how God helps to free them while the dads wrapped up groups of kids with crepe paper. God’s love then shook them up like an earthquake and the kids wriggled free of the bindings! Lots of laughter – lots of mess – so much fun! Creating prop chains, making disciple signs, and building Lego scenes of the drama rounded out the day with the dads. Many thanks to Josh Torgerson, Jeff Tustin, and Carlin Andrus for leading the day while the moms were away!

Encountering God on the Road

  • April 29, 2019

The youth group ventured out on Sunday for a walk along the river to experience the mysteries of God in nature. Following a reading of the post-resurrection story of Jesus’ revelation on the “Road to Emmaus” (Luke 24:13-35) we wondered together about what sort of sacred signs might we be missing as we journey through our busy lives. Grounded in the following reflection posted on Carrie Newcomer’s “Speed of the Soul” blog, we explored what the woods, the river, and the birds had to offer us.

“Wendell Berry describes the presence of mystery in the world as ‘a bird that calls and waits and calls again’. There is an ever present wholeness that is always resting quietly beneath the clamor. This presence is so faithful that we stop noticing it, in the same way we stop noticing the air we breathe until the wind swifts and the trees lean over in a new direction. What a gift it is to rise from our thoughts and the busy world and sense the ever present wholeness. Today is a good day to practice listening for the quietest thing that moves [in our midst]. It is a good day to notice on a busy street that the people around us are tender and funny, strong and luminous as the sun. Today is a good day to breathe and listen for the bird that calls, pauses, and calls again.”

This is Our Story…Youth Lead the Way in Worship

  • March 5, 2019

What a blessing it was to see the youth in action this past Sunday when they shared their many gifts with the congregation. It was truly a team effort and a wonderful picture of this amazingly thoughtful, talented, and generous group of young people. God’s spirit was shining bright!



Youth Reflections

On March 3rd, our Youth shared their reflections on Luke 9:28-43.

Speaker 1: Good morning. Thank you for inviting us to lead worship on this Youth Sunday and for giving us the opportunity to share with you some of our reflections on this story of Jesus’ Transfiguration.

During our exploration of this story, we wondered together about a number of things. We noticed and applauded Jesus’ desire to get away from the crowds, to spend some quiet time with God, and to bring three of his closest friends along for company. We wondered what made him do this at this time in his ministry?

We also noticed how God invites Moses and Elijah to show up too, which seems to us evidence of Jesus’ connection to the Law and the Prophets as well as God’s desire to elevate the importance of this event. We wondered what the disciples were thinking and feeling when they saw these two figures appear to be talking with Jesus?

After speculating about possible answers to these questions, our attention turned to the event itself. In the Transfiguration, Jesus is made known more fully by his changing appearance and by God’s voice affirming his identity and his mission.

“This is my child, my chosen one, listen to him!”

God’s words here powerfully declare the essence of who Jesus is and point to his purpose – his call – to live into the role that God has given to him. We imagined that this must have made Jesus feel profoundly loved and empowered to fulfill his mission in a spirit of truth and freedom.

Speaker 2: Many of us can relate to this experience of being seen and appreciated for who we are. Our friends, family, teachers and other mentors often play this role in our lives. Their ability to recognize our gifts, gives us confidence and inspires us to be our best selves.

One time I felt empowered was when I received a position as a junior coach at my figure skating rink. When I was younger, a couple of my teammates were repeatedly mean to me, most likely because I was an easy target. Ever since that experience, I worked to become a positive role model and to advocate for younger girls so no one else would be on the receiving end of such unkind behavior. Earning an official leadership role made me feel recognized for these efforts, and I felt empowered because I had a chance to use my own position to help other people.

Speaker 3: When the disciples witness Jesus’ Transfiguration, they realize the sacredness of this moment and want to build dwelling places so they can all remain on Holy Ground and continue to enjoy this mountain top experience together. But they are interrupted by God’s voice and reminded that there is important work yet to be done.

Created and known by God, we too are called to be our truest selves and to trust in God’s invitation to bravely share who we are – our passions, our life stories, our identities and our perspectives – with other people so that we might all grow in faith and love. When we do this for each other, amazing things can happen.

I spent the first half of my junior year up in Maine at a semester school: Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki. It’s in Wiscasset, about an hour north of Portland, a 400 acre peninsula shaped sort of like a hand. There were 45 of us in my semester, and those people, along with the staff, created the warmest, kindest, and most welcoming environment I have ever been a part of. I have never felt more free to be myself, and I can say wholeheartedly that everyone else felt the same way. There was no subtle judgement or assumptions made or anything that seems to happen in a regular high school setting. I was seen right away by these absolute strangers for who I was on the inside, and as a result I was able to learn and grow more profoundly than I ever would have back at home. I am now close friends with 44 other people I never would have been friends with at home, and I am much better and more open person because of them.

Speaker 4: One of the other lectionary texts assigned for Transfiguration Sunday comes from 2nd Corinthians where Paul is talking to the early Christians. In this passage he reminds the people of the power of God’s spirit and encourages them this way:

“Since we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. … Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is freedom. And all of us, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed. … Since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.”

Just as Jesus was known, revealed, and transformed on the mountaintop, so too are we recognized and affirmed by God who loves us unconditionally and offers us the privilege to be fully who we are as we come down from our mountains and share our authentic voices with the world. It is here that we find Courage. It is here that we find Hope. And it is here that we find Freedom.

Amen.