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?
Religious Education Resources
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
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
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.
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
Sallie Jones and Leslie Leonard from Birmingham Friends Meeting, West Chester, PA, share a story about their program, Exploring Quakerism for Newcomers. The program provides an overview of Quakerism and how Friends meetings work. Two members of the meeting lead the program and orient seekers to the faith and help them build relationships within the meeting.
A few years ago, my meeting’s RE committee planned to focus on one of the Friends testimonies each month, and found we got stuck (in a good way!) on peace. We ended up creating a year-long program that started with peace in ourselves and moved outward each month in circles of expanding communities: exploring peace in our homes, meeting, neighborhoods, and the world. [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources for January & February 2022
Over the last four weeks, more than 50 Friends registered to gather on Sunday evenings for an online adult religious education series exploring Advent — the time of expectant waiting before Christmas — with scripture, discussion, guided activities, prayers, and readings. [Read more…] about Advent Program Invites Reflection and Transformation