I am so grateful for the ministry Ryan and I have shared together for the past five years. And I look forward to the opportunity to continue to support our children on their faith journeys.
For those who may not be familiar with my background in children’s ministry, here’s a brief summary about me:
I have a BA in Social Ecology (with a multi-cultural and social justice emphasis) from John F. Kennedy University. I was the volunteer coordinator of children’s ministry for 7 years at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Antioch, California. I completed a four-year certificate program of theological educational study called “Education for Ministry” (EfM) through Sewanee School of Religion at University of the South. And I completed a certification program for Christian educators through the Episcopal Church Diocese of California. Prior to joining the staff at LOPC, I was on staff as Director of Family Ministry for 10 years at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
With 22 years of children’s ministry experience, I feel well equipped for the next chapter in children’s ministry at LOPC. I’m excited about the days ahead and all the ways we will continue to grow together as people of faith.
So, what will the days ahead look like for children’s ministry?
To begin with, all of the children’s programs we currently offer will continue including: The Garden on Sunday mornings, Kids Rock on Wednesday afternoons and Vacation Bible Camp during the summer. How we do these programs may be different depending on Covid safety protocols, as well as, the participation level of volunteers and children. But we will continue to provide these core ministry programs for our children.
In a broader sense, the days ahead for children’s ministry will take into account some of the things that feel especially true right now:
- The pandemic has had a huge impact on us. People feel stressed, tired and weary. Families are struggling. We all want to feel safe again. Children’s ministry is a place where children are cared for and nurtured, where their feelings are honored and acknowledged.
- We are in a time of transition. Our church community is shifting. Some LOPC staff members are moving on and new staff members will join us. Congregation members are moving out of the area. And new people are coming to our church. Children’s ministry welcomes the new friends who are joining us and prays for the friends who move to new places.
- We are called to address racial inequities. LOPC is dedicated to racial equity and anti-bias values. In alignment with those values, children’s ministry teaches children the virtues of kindness, mercy and justice; to notice who gets left out, to be intentional about including everyone, and to speak up for change so that no one gets left out.
Taking these three areas of concern into account, in the coming year, the children’s ministry team will focus on the following:
- Smooth staffing transitions
- Maintaining a ministry of presence with our kids
- Supporting families in their faith journey
- Promoting racial equity and anti-bias values in our programs
To assist with these goals, a new Family Ministry Council will convene to look holistically at the needs of children, teens, and families. Headed by Pastor Jaime Polson, the council will include staff members of children and youth ministries, their Elders, and others.
The days ahead will have challenges. But I truly believe they will have gifts and blessings too. I am strengthened by the knowledge that, as a church family, we are in this together.
If you want know more about me, I would love to chat with you Sunday mornings on the plaza or arrange another time to connect. And if you have any questions about children’s ministry and volunteer opportunities, please reach out to me by email.