Our Ministries


According to Staci...

Tuesday
Sep132011

The Communion of Thank You!

This last Sunday was Homecoming Sunday!  Homecoming Sunday is the Sunday that we return from our summer fun, our wanderings, and our projects (finished and unfinished).  Sunday school begins, the Choir returns in full voice, Youth Group enthusiastically begins, and we worship and share in communion together. 

My heart was renewed in every way, through communion this Sunday. The pure welcome of everyone, especially the children, to share in the moment together.  Children spilled into the center isle of the sanctuary to sit and listen to Pastor Jan share the familiar story.  To watch the breaking of the bread, to witness the lifting of the cup, and to experience being invited to God's table with open arms.  

Sitting next to me on the floor, was Wesley.  He's in Kindergarten. While we sat and listened to the story of communion being shared with us, he leaned over to ask me........"Does everyone get a piece?" referring to the bread.  "Yes, everyone gets a piece." I said back. Wesley was comforted and very pleased.  Everyone gets a piece. What a simple thought that is, but it holds within it such great meaning. 

Wesley and I made our way forward to share in the feast of God's love.  Pastor Jan bent down low to offer the plate and God's Peace (or Piece) to Wesley.  As Wesley took his piece, he responded out loud, "Thank you very much".  He meant it.  Yes, it was good manners, but I could tell that he was thankful for  the piece that was meant just for him.  A share of God's love, set aside just for Wesley.  

I however, was taken by surprise.  'Thank you'.  I've never said 'Thank you' out loud while receiving communion.  I'm of course thankful, but I'm always in my own head, making meaningful sense of the symbolic and ancient ritual.  An expression of faithful response to what Jesus asked us to do, remember Him.  But never once have I said 'Thank you'.  And in that moment during worship, I renewed the spirit of communion within myself, by following the lead of a Kindergartner.  I said "Thank you" and I meant it. Thankful for all the ways, Jesus has opened my eyes and heart to an ever-present, inviting, welcoming God.

Thank you too Wesley! 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct052010

Staci's Thought: Chalk Labyrinth

   

The 5th and 6th grade Sunday school class created a sidewalk chalk prayer labyrinth this week in the upper parking lot.  Working with enthusiasm, joy, and good music, around in circles they drew. When they were done, a beautiful work of art and an activity of spiritual practice had been created.  In rainbow colors.

 

 If you've ever walked a labyrinth you know that they can offer a particularly rich spiritual experience. As you walk the path, you pass others or they pass you. You walk at your own pace, and others at theirs. (If you're a 5th or 6th grader, this can quickly become  a conga line,) You seem to be working your way toward the center and suddenly you find yourself on the outside of the design again. Finally you reach the center, pause, and begin the journey out and though you are retracing your steps, going in the other direction this time makes the path completely new.

 

All of this whispers metaphorically of the spiritual journey we walk together.  Looking forward, looking back.  Journeying together while being in different places on the same path. Seeking the center of a spiritual time and space.  Finding ways to create sacred patterns and holy routines in our everyday living. 

Thank you to our 5th and 6th graders and to their mentor James Marohn, for reminding me of the circular, rainbow colored, conga line that is our journey of faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Sep102010

Staci's Thought: Creating Covenants

This last Thursday night, I had the joy of helping the Kid's Choir of RBCC create a Kids Choir Covenant.  Working together, the kids aged 4 - 11,  created a wonderful way of being together and supporting each other.  We often create Covenants at the start of our time together in Sunday school, youth group, confirmation, and also the kids choir.

A Covenant is a promise.  A  mutual commitment between people, of how they will be in community with each other.  It is the creation of all the people involved, and is a reflection of how God first loved us.

More than a set of rules, a covenant is about relationships.  How we relate to God, each other, our communities, and our world. Especially in the midst of our differences.  It's God's good glue that keeps us together!

Below is the kids choir covenant.  A beautiful example to live by.

As the Kids Choir of RBCC we Covenant with each other to:

Have fun, Sing, Make Friends, Smile, Work Together, and Have Confidence. 

We will do it through, Agreement, Cooperation, Being Kind, Listening, and Practicing Self-Space.

Why we do it... To bring joy to others and each other.  To Inspire.

Amen!

Thursday
Aug192010

"What Does it Mean to be a Spiritual Young Person?"

"What does it mean to be a spiritual young person?"

Over the summer I read an article from the University of Missouri about a researcher exploring this very question.  How are our young people defining their spirituality?  How do they define the differences between religion and spirituality?  The following answers from the youth in the study give us some insight into the minds of our own young people.

“What does it mean to be a spiritual young person?”……….

  • To have purpose
  • To have the bond of connections, including those to a higher power (typically God), people and nature.
  • To have a foundation of well-being, including joy and fulfillment, energy and peace
  • To have conviction
  • To have self-confidence
  • To have an impetus for virtue; for example, having motivation to do the right thing and tell the truth

"Although the assumption is that many people are 'spiritual,' spirituality is not something that is easy to articulate and define.”  Anthony James, University of Missouri.

How do we as a congregation help all of our young people foster a sense of spirituality in their lives.  It takes more than one voice and more than one experience.  Are we helping them make connections to God and others?  How are we building their self confidence?  In what ways are we helping them build foundations of joy, fulfillment, energy and peace?

As Homecoming Sunday approches, I hope we can all find a way to play a part in the spiritual formation of our young people, from nursery through High School.  What are some ways we can do this together? 

You can read the entire article here: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/06/21/youth.define.spirituality.terms.positive.behaviors.connections

Wednesday
Jan202010

Communities

I remember all the excitement of growing up in what seemed the 'new' technological age.  Playing PONG with my dad.  Begging for an ATARI for Christmas and then playing the Adventure game and Donkey Kong until I became too frustrated or blurry-eyed to continue.  Than came my friend's Apple computer.  The computer that took up the whole desk with components stacked on top of each other and fuzzy, green, boxy letters on the deep, square monitor that blinked while you stared at them.   It was all so simple and exciting back then. Also, a little ominous.....like when I saw WarGames the movie.

Today, I can barely keep track of my cell phone charger.  But I can stay tethered to my computer to keep up with my email.  I do have a Facebook page, but not that I do anything more than keep up with the happenings of my friends and the youth I work with.  It is just not part of my nature to live within the hyper fast lane of technology.  But I try. In the world today, it is a necessity. 

I was astonished today, to read an article about our kids today. http://youthspecialties.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=af5742699a583e671b94078e9&id=891d401f1c&e=0344eece2e

That our youth, if not sleeping or in school, are on online every other hour of the day. Whether it be Iphone, blackberrys, Facebook, WIRED, Youtube, etc....  Is that ok?  I don't fully know.  Growing up as a young person of the 80's, technology was a tool that enhanced my relationships as I grew older.  A tool to make daily tasks easier.  Young people of this day, have technology as a formative part of relationship building.  A constant busyness.  An absolute necessity for school and the scheduling their lives and communicating with their friends.

For me, I think I crave and hope for the balance of community to enter in the lives of our kids and youth.  Remember when the term "community" had some clearly defined characteristics?  Whether it was a neighborhood, an ethnic group, or a church community, we spent time together--face to face time.  And that time was important--it helped define who we were, how we fit, and what was expected. 

Thank goodness for the community of RBCC in the lives of our children and youth.  A community that values and engages our kids to spend face-time together.  Time to discover their voice and their story as part of a faith community and the family of God.  Giving them time to experience togetherness, rowdiness, times of silence, opportunities to serve others, serve along side others and moments of just touching the earth
and knowing their connection to it.

There is balance to be found. Between technology and community. Creative and new ways to support our ministries using new communications tools such as Facebook, Twitter and pod casting and reaching out to those who may find our community helpful and meaningful.  Then, having a living, breathing, community to enter into, that technology can not possibly replace. 

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