In the Fall of 2020, as children returned to school online and many meetings settled into hosting worship on Zoom, the question of how to support religious education programs and community for children and families in meetings was on many minds. Local meetings did amazing things in the depth of the pandemic — care packages, calls and notes to young Friends and their families, outdoor programs when possible — even online Christmas pageants! The PYM Children & Families program was also experimenting, and Giant Children’s Meeting was born from both necessity and hope. Now we’re ready to discern what’s next for creating children and their families in our wider PYM community. [Read more…] about Giant Children’s Meeting: What’s Next?
Friends Who Care For Youth
When the afternoon sunshine softens and the crickets take over for the cicada chorus, I know it’s back to school time. The former classroom teacher in me feels the tug to get ready for the new year, and of course in meetings we may be getting ready to welcome children and youth back from summer adventures to school-year routines. One of the ideas I’m thinking about a lot is rethinking “First Day School” — both that language and the scholastic model. It’s not “the way we’ve always done things” as Friends, and the interruptions of the pandemic continue to create opportunities for new ways of exploring, listening, and being community in our meetings. Join me for a conversation on this! Below you’ll find resources for Fall and events for conversation, service, and fellowship.
[Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Fall
Throughout the month of June, Pride celebrations have happened across our PYM region. As the month comes to a close we can carry on that spirit of affirmation and inclusion. In this year when religious groups and government legislation are fighting to repress queer youth and their families, PYM celebrates the importance of our LGBTQ+ community. The Youth Programs Advisory Committee recently approved a minute of support for the LGBTQ+ youth, staff, families, and volunteers in our Youth Programs, which was accepted in June by the Quaker Life Council. There is more work to do! Shared here is the YPAC minute in full, along with resources and reflections on how we can continue to educate and celebrate belonging for all in our local meetings and yearly meeting community. [Read more…] about Celebrating & Nurturing Support for Queer Youth
Happy summertime, Friends! In the coming weeks, children and teens will be done with school and families will shift into summer routines. I’ll be back in touch in August with ideas for looking forward to the Fall, and if you’re ready to start thinking in that direction this planning guide is still a good place to begin this summer. The resources and events offered below for June and July include Juneteenth, FGC’s “YAY!” gathering, and what’s for families and youth at our Annual Sessions. I hope you will pass them along to families and youth in your meetings and communities! [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources and Events for June & July
Last summer, Ujima Friends Peace Center launched a 100% outdoor freedom school that was designed to allow the neighborhood children to explore “friendly spaces” while engaging in activities that would be good for the mind, body, and spirit. Our children participated in environmental projects, literacy activities, and self-care/conflict resolution sessions. The summer was a resounding success!
Freedom Summer 2021 we were hosted by Abington Friends Meeting and the Historic Fairhill Burial Grounds. Our young people enjoyed trips to Snipes Farms, Taylor Wildlife Preserves, the Goat Project, One Art Community Center, Up from Salem and Salem Monthly Meeting.
We are planning for Freedom Summer 2022 and would love for our children to once again experience some of the green spaces in Quaker meeting houses and schools that so many of us take for granted but serve as a balm for the souls of many of our children.
We hope to serve 30 children and engage a team of college students. We will bring all our own equipment and materials. We simply would like to have our children in spaces that are safe, green, and provide opportunities for bonding with the environment and with one another.
If you are interested in helping us this summer here are things you can do:
- Sign up to host our children in your meeting house or school grounds.
- Assist us in locating a place for our children to swim.
- Donate to assist us in paying for transportation and trips.
Please send donations to:
Ujima Friends Peace Center,
PO Box 50647,
In the last two weeks we have been repeatedly confronted with the legacy of gun violence and ongoing, communal trauma in this country. The three events in recent days have happened in the kinds of everyday places that should be safe — the grocery store, church, and school. How do we talk to children and adolescents about gun violence, racialized violence, and senseless tragedy? Parents and caregivers are helping their children process their feelings alongside their own, and signs of anxiety are different in children and adolescents when compared with adults. Pastoral care for children begins with pastoral care for their caregivers, and the resources below are offered to support parents and families—please share.
“Something Odd at Quarterly Meeting” . . .
Birmingham Meeting‘s children and youth have used their drama skills and interests to participate in intergenerational programs for Concord Quarterly Meeting over the last twelve years. The young people give a performance that is followed by adults and youth present being invited to respond to wondering questions on issues brought up by the story they share. Various topics have been used for their performances including scripture, Quaker history, and recently a science fiction story! [Read more…] about Concord Quarter’s Intergenerational Radio Play Program
A parent in my meeting shared with me that they were not sure how to talk to their children about Russia’s war on Ukraine. I recalled a line in an article that had resonated for me as a parent and educator: We don’t have to protect children from difficult feelings, but we must not leave them alone with them. The Tote Bag newsletter for March/April has many resources and events to share with meetings and families, but these ideas for supporting one another and talking about ways to create peace are perhaps the most important. [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources for March & April 2022
We are a people full of stories. Stories help us create meaning, make sense of our world, and develop identity. Stories are how some of the greatest teachers, including Jesus of Nazareth, shared their message and showed the path of a faithful life. This series of Godly Play and Faith & Play stories about the life and ministry of Jesus can be used during the time leading up to Easter, and are for viewing with meeting communities or sharing at home. While the style of this storytelling is often associated with programs for children, we all need and yearn for stories. These are for all of us at any age! [Read more…] about Stories of Faith on the Road to Easter
How do you pray? What personal practices do you have that bring you into relationship and conversation with the Spirit? How do prayer practices nurture your spiritual life and anchor your experience of gathering with others for meeting for worship? In my experience, we don’t talk a lot about prayer in Quaker religious education — how to pray with children, teach prayers to children, or why we might offer this as a practice for their “spiritual toolbox.” I’ve been collecting ideas and resources over time, hoping to bring together interested Friends to talk about prayer with children. On December 2, several Friends gathered for an online Religious Education Conversation on “Prayer with Children,” and what is shared below is from a presentation, participant sharing, and group reflections. [Read more…] about How Do We Pray with Children?