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.
- Do you know that on the PYM website there is a section FULL of Religious Education resources for all ages? Curricula, supporting materials for adults teaching and parenting, handouts and articles!
- What’s Next Planning Guide: an exploration of where you’ve been and where you are led to go, to assist with planning
- Planning Calendar for Religious Education Programs 2022-23 is a blank planner ready for your meeting program to fill it in; with online resources online and special events/holidays noted for September 2022 to June 2023
- Are adults not in worship on Sunday morning because they are with the children’s program? Consider celebrating their service with the Youth Religious Education “Minute of Travel” for Religious Service
This is a book for every meeting library! In God’s Holy Darkness the authors deconstruct anti-Blackness in Christian theology by celebrating instances in the story of God’s people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy.
Interested in exploring picture books as vehicles for theological reflection with all ages? Visit the “Picture Book Theology” website. (A picture book is any book with pictures that can be read to a child, teenager, or adult in one sitting. Not just for children!)
Fall Events for RE Programs & Families
- Sunday, September 4, 4-5pm, for Friends who tell Godly Play and Faith & Play Stories: Fall Refresher! Are You Ready? Gather with fellow storytellers to share how we’re getting ready for fall programs.
- Thursday, September 22, 7-8:30pm for RE Committees and Interested Friends: Fall Religious Education Conversation: Rethinking “First Day School”
How are we called to re-think and re-envision how religious education programs invite children and youth into spiritual community and nurture their Quaker identity?
- For Youth in Grades 8-12: Young Friends at Bucks Peace Fair On September 17, Quaker and Quaker-friendly youth are invited to be part of the Young Friends team helping to support the Bucks Peace Fair again this year. An opportunity for service work and fun! NOTE: 8th Grade students are invited to join the high school group for this event.
- For Everyone! Family Camping Weekend: Hosted by PYM Youth Programs
Youth Programs staff will host this weekend at a PA State Park Campground, and welcome family units of adult(s)+kid(s) and other camping-friendly Friends to join in intergenerational community the weekend of September 30-October 2.
- World Quaker Day is Sunday, October 2! The focus this year is on intervisition — Visit the WQD website to download the poster in different world languages!
- Save the Date: Fall Continuing Sessions at Arch Street Meetinghouse on Saturday, November 5
Please help to spread the word to families! Registration for the third and final year of the Quaker parent mutual support groups is now open! PYM is one of the organizations supporting the groups.
The Quaker parent mutual support groups provide a supportive forum in which Quaker parents can talk about their parenting and their faith. Parents celebrate one another’s successes and provide fellowship for one another through difficulties.
Registration deadline: November 1
Anti-racism Learning and Action
As we enter the fall, November is not far off and the focus on Native American Heritage Month and observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the resources in the PYM Religious Education collection is “Choosing Excellent Children’s Books By & About American Indians” created by the The Indian Affairs Committee of Salem Quarter, and there are many newer picture books which center the voices of Native people.
One that honors both the history and tradition that surrounds the story of the first Thanksgiving is Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, a Wampanoag story told in a Native tradition. Two children from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe learn the story of Weeâchumun (corn) and the first Thanksgiving.
“Decolonizing Thanksgiving Is An Oxymoron – Kids Books Dismantling The Myth of a ‘First Thanksgiving’” is another good resource for reexamining the holiday and history behind it, found on the website “Raising Luminaries: Books for Littles — Igniting the next generation of kind & courageous leaders.” From the post linked above: “Teach your kids the truth of Thanksgiving – modeling generosity and gratitude all year long – but don’t whitewash the violent history of colonization.”
The Tote Bag
Interested in receiving this information in an email format for sharing? Subscribe to “Religious Education” to receive The Tote Bag: PYM Religious Education and Family Resources 4-6 times a year. Friends are welcome to submit ideas for topics of interest, lift up resources to include, or send a question they would like addressed!
Featured images from Pixabay.com and iStock