As I sit to write these words, it is a perfect summer day. A cool front has cleared out the smoke from the western wildfires, and my windows are open to take in the pleasant breeze. Yesterday’s meeting of the Pandemic Policy Team (PPT), however, still casts a shadow on my mood. We are returning to an indoor mask requirement, which is inconvenient but certainly doable. What weighs on me heaviest is the prospect of planning for our children’s faith development programs for 2021-22. As a new variant – and not the last new variant, for sure – circulates, more contagious than ever, and apparently more likely to impact younger people, I am aware that we have children now who were born during the pandemic who are now walking, talking… and have never been in a parent’s lap at church. The children who were preschoolers when we shut down the campus may have dim memories of church, and our elementary age kids may remember church as something they did in the remote past, when they were “little.” A cohort of young teens missed the human sexuality education program, Our Whole Lives (OWL) during the year we would usually offer it, and are now not such young teens anymore.
I hope that together, we can get creative and make space for our children to reconnect this fall. The PPT has recommended that we plan an outdoor program for children, and I’m excited to reimagine faith development that uses our outdoor campus. If you have a love of the outdoors and can imagine sharing your love of the natural world with children, please send me an email! If you like to identify plants, or bugs, or birds… I believe it is important for us to teach our children the names of things, so that the natural world is deeply familiar to them. Within the shadow of COVID, there is also an opportunity to look at faith development differently, and to create a program that will meet our children’s social, emotional, and spiritual needs while keeping them connected to our church community. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If this sounds exciting to you, please be in touch.