What do you need?
A small and vital question to be asking one another in these days. What do families in our meetings, and the adults who have care of religious education programs for children and young people, need to support the spiritual lives children and young people?
What do you need to gather?
There is no “right way” to be gathering in this time, when the needs of Friends and our capacities to meet them are unique and sometimes changing:
- Meetings are finding ways to use Zoom or other online platforms to gather in a different way with children and young people in First Day programs.
- Meetings are gathering for worship, and not creating separate spaces for religious education programs for now. Children may be attending worship with their meeting and their family in new ways — snuggling on the living room couch, coloring at the kitchen table.
- Friends are joining one another across time and distances for online programs or worship. Zoom can provide new pathways to be together for the attender who has moved across the country, the Friend with accessibility issues that prevent travel to the meetinghouse, the parent of very young children who is able to join from home in new ways.
How might the meetings who are hosting children’s progams open their doors to visitors during this time? Not all local meetings are organizing an online children’s program, and could use support from other meetings in their Quarter or more widely in PYM to connect families with programming for children. We would love to hear from you if you are:
- a meeting who would be happy to welcome other families to your children’s program
- a family wanting to connect with a children’s program.
What do you need at home? (one answer may be a visit from “flat” George Fox and Margaret Fell — see below!)
Some families are unable to connect online, or choosing not to participate in online First Day programs or worship after a week of screen time for school. How can we meet their needs?
Friends are writing notes to children in their meeting, sending care packages of seeds or coloring pages, making phone calls to families to check in.
Three sets of resources are posted on the Religious Education curriculum section of the PYM website that are “for home” (and also have parts to do together, if there is an opportunity to gather online).
- Remembering, Hoping, and Being Present — centering reflection and worship at home
- “Treeing” Together — care for the earth in community
- Flat Fox and Fell — adventures at home and in 1652 country with George Fox and Margaret Fell. This new resource from Faith & Play Stories links to a video “walk” through early Quaker history, guided activity, and Faith & Play stories you can watch on YouTube.
Some needs are ongoing — Child safety practices continue to be important in virtual spaces.
“Guidance and Practices for Online Youth Gatherings when participants are under the age of 18” may be of service to meetings hosting online programs and youth gatherings in this time.
What else are you up to in your meeting and would like to share with others? Where are the possibilities, and the challenges, as we seek to be close to one another and to God?
What do you need? Be in touch!
Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Religious Life Coordinator