Children and Youth Stay Connected in New Ways
Contributors: Teri Skakum (Messiah, Winnipeg), Lisa van Dijk (SLAW Youth group), and Karen Rasmussen-Oke (St. Peter/St. Cyprian)
The youth group at Messiah Lutheran, Winnipeg gathered via Zoom in place of their regular youth group meeting. This Zoom youth group included a chance to check in with each other and give updates on their experience of separation, share a brief reflection on scripture, reflect on their faith through some guided conversation, and spend time in prayer together. When the official ‘lesson’ portion was over, the youth shared important fellowship together as they played with filters and green screen settings, shared about different aspects of their personal lives, and laughed together.
The Sunday School children at Messiah had a similar opportunity to gather in preparation for Palm Sunday. In advance of the gathering to learn about Palm Sunday, families were sent a Palm Branch to colour and cut out. The Zoom meeting began by checking in with each other, and then sharing together in reading/listening to the story of Palm Sunday read from the Spark! Story Bible (which children are given when they begin Sunday School so they could follow along at home). After answering a couple of reflection questions, the whole group waved their coloured palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” together. The gathering ended with a word of prayer and encouragement from the adults.
The SLAW (collaborative ministry between Abundant Life, Sherwood Park, and St. Luke’s Zion) youth have also found a way to stay connected in fellowship and service. At the beginning of April, families were invited to collect food items for Winnipeg Harvest and leave them on their doorsteps. Leaders drove around collecting these items, and dropping off Easter goodie bags for those in grades 3-6. Leaders collected approximately 250 food items and over $200 in cash donations to help those in need. SLAW youth met after Easter via Zoom for their regular youth group gathering, which included an at-home scavenger hunt and a time of singing and praying with pastors.
Easter at St. Peter Lutheran/St. Cyprian Anglican parish in Teulon, Manitoba included an Easter car parade. Leaders drove around to the homes of parishioners, waving signs and sharing words of greeting from safe distances. Sunday School children received a small goodie bag, which included an Easter craft for families to do together.
These are just a few examples of how congregations throughout the synod continue to live out the mission of ‘empowered by God, shepherding the church, serving the world’ in new ways as we prayerfully wait for the chance to gather again in community.