Summer is coming. While I can’t see it on this rainy Monday as I write this, my calendar is actually filling up with TRIPS!
But as summer comes, and many of us look forward to traveling, we need to keep our connections with God and each other and our children. School may be out for the summer soon, but building a daily relationship with God, like God, neither slumbers nor sleeps. How will you keep your relationship growing?
Families with young children will soon receive a survey asking for opinions about the last school year’s offerings for Christian Education. What worked, and what didn’t? What would you like to see? What would you be willing to help with?
Families without children, you received a survey with similar goals regarding your pastors. Did you respond?
I know, no one likes “finals,” but the new Director of Christian Formation for Children and Youth (I will not miss typing that) is coming as surely as summer, and Plymouth doesn’t want to get off to a slow start with a new staff member. So families with children in the house, please, complete the basics of the survey you’ll receive and think about how to restart, or to kindle, faith in your household.
The Christian Formation Board will continue developing adult programming in Plymouth’s great tradition of Adult Christian Formation. In the near future this will be under the auspices of the two pastors with the support of the CF Board, the Adult Forum Team and the Visiting Scholar Team. What is your vision for adult Christian formation? How will you support the current programming? How will you support the staff and CF Board in developing this programming as we move out of pandemic mode and into post-pandemic mode?
As I watch the kids on my street learn to ride their bikes and sail over jumps, I wonder if they get the same encouragement to find God. I wonder if they say a prayer of thanks. I wonder who supports them on their faith journeys as well as their trail rides. Who will remind them that God is in the wildflower and the mountaintop, the trout stream and the rainbow? Who will remind you? How will you remind one another?
Tricia Medlock is returning to the interim position she held between Plymouth directors Sarah Wernsing and Mandy Hall. After leaving the Plymouth staff, she served as director of Children’s Ministries at St. Luke’s Episcopal for four years.
“Where did summer go?” This is the refrain that I have been hearing from families, teachers, and really just about everyone the past couple of weeks. To be honest, I have been wondering about the disappearance of summer myself. I’m not feeling all that prepared for September to happen later this week. I keep hoping that somehow I’m mistaken and we’re actually still in July. Where did the time go? Why does it feel like the business of fall is creeping into our lives earlier and earlier?
I could spend some time sharing with you the exciting things that we have instore for the Fall- the Sunday school classes that are starting up next week, the WRYE report and car wash that are just around the corner. I could share with you opportunities to connect with the Christian Formation programs both in and out of the classroom. Instead I thought I’d take some time to pause, reflect and be still for just a moment as time flies and our schedules continue to book up.
When we were kids a timeout was punishment, now it feels like a gift. Go to your room, no phone, no email, sit and be. That actually sounds really nice right about now. It reminds me of my favorite bible verse to meditate on from Psalm 46 “Be still and know that I am God.” Sometimes we just need to slow down and rest in the loving presence of God. Otherwise we end up like one of those old cartoon characters that is running so fast they aren’t able to see what’s going on around them and they run right off a cliff. It’s only when they stop to look they realize there is nothing there and they fall. How often do we get so busy we lose track of what’s important? How often do we keep running for the sake of running only to realize we’ve gone way off course?
“Be still and know that I am God.” It doesn’t mean stop everything, stop trying to make a difference, or 'give up and let God,' God commands us to pause, refuel, and check in with the Holy. It reminds me of a podcast I listen to, “Levar Burton Reads.” You might know Levar Burton from his role in Roots or Star Trek: The Next Generation. If you’re from my generation you might remember him as the Reading Rainbow guy. Every week he reads a different short story, just because he loves to read. Before every story he invites the listeners to take a deep breath with him. It’s just one moment, one pause in the business of life, one breath. Yet this one breath feels like a gift each time and I am frequently reminded of the gift that is being still in our busy lives.
So, before you move on to the next thing, let’s slow down, take a deep breath. Be still, and know that God is with you.
Grace and Peace,
Director of Christian Formation for Children & Youth, Mandy Hall began her ministry at Plymouth in August of 2014. She is originally from Michigan where she followed her call to ministry to become a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. Her passion is helping young people grow in faith in creative and meaningful ways. Read more.