On Saturday, December 7, almost 30 Friends from 15 local meetings gathered at West Chester Meeting for a Thread Gathering to explore in community the connection between religious education and how a meeting welcomes and includes newcomers. Some came in pairs and groups from their meetings, bringing questions, examples of resources, and stories of experiences in meetings to the conversation together. The afternoon program included a presentation on welcome and belonging, small group conversations with queries, and threshing of the issues raised in the larger group. As we parted into the evening, overheard was the word, “hope.” [Read more…] about Hand in Hand: Religious Education & Outreach Thread Gathering
Religious Education Resources
Onward into the new year and new opportunities to learn and grow together in our Yearly Meeting in 2023! Two of those opportunities focus on intergenerational worship and Bible study. We have so much to learn from one another in our approaches to these topics, and the PYM “Worship & Care Package” is one way we will explore new possibilities together. Friends who support religious education in our meetings are a community of practice; let’s consider about how we might accompany one another in the next year, sharing the ways that children, young people, and their families are part of our meeting communities. [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Winter 2023
On Thursday, September 29, Friends gathered online for a presentation and discussion exploring the roots of Quaker religious education and our condition in meetings today. PYM Participants were joined by Friends from meetings across the US (all the way to Hawaii) and Costa Rica, to “rethink” the way we approach children’s religious education in meetings. Is it time to release a scholastic, lesson-based model focused only on Sunday morning?
Queries anchored both small group and whole group discussion and themes that emerged included: sharing about intergenerational programs, including youth in activism and witness, and understanding religious education as the responsibility of the whole meeting. It was an inspiring conversation! [Read more…] about Rethinking “First Day School”
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?
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