Spring begins here in the northern hemisphere this week! We often talk about renewal in this time, and there is also a duality about springtime that can feel liminal. In March, the warmer sunlight belies the chill still in the air. Flowers pop up along the edges of lawns still covered in autumn leaves. Easter has the dual, entwined messages of death and loss with resurrection and joy. Resources and ideas are offered below for families and meetings as we move into the spring months!
Please also check out and share with families the events for children,youth, and families being hosted by the wonderful Youth Programs staff in April and May!
New to Share with Parents & Caregivers
Please share with families this 5-minute survey from Youth Programs staff to help with planning for both Annual Sessions in July and future youth programs. Looking forward to being back in the Annual Sessions Family Neighborhood!
There’s a new book about Quaker parenting! Tending Sacred Ground: Respectful Parenting is a series of essays and reflections from Pamela Haines, a member of Central Philadelphia Meeting. The meeting hosted a book talk with Pamela, and that delightful recording is on the PYM YouTube channel.
Pamela Haines is a great storyteller because she’s also an excellent noticer—of herself, her own children and others, the work and joy of parenting, and our condition as human beings.
Book Suggestions for Meetings & Homes
Who Is My Neighbor?
by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
If you missed the fun at Spring Continuing Sessions, you can still read the book we used in the afternoon program! Our Sessions theme this year is “Living with our neighbors. Growing into beloved community.” This lovely picture book explores just that, with a new telling of the parable of the good samaritan.
All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love
by Lacy Finn Borgo
I recently discovered Borgo’s spiritual direction work with children, and this book is a resource for exploring grief and loss with a child. Using the oft-quoted phrase from Julian of Norwich, the story explores a dying grandparent and grieving as a family. Have you ever had a question from a parent or meeting member about how to talk about death or grief with a child? This book is one answer.
Easter Ideas & Resources
As we approach Easter, some meetings will be preparing to explore this story with their children. Other meetings may not focus on the theology but celebrate community with an egg hunt. While our traditions and practices vary, there’s room for all of them and good resources and new approaches are available:
This is the Mystery of Easter
With the gentle refrain, “love God, love yourself and love everyone else,” this book is appropriate for young children. The focus is on the power of love to overcome injustice and fear, not the crucifixion and Jesus’ death as atonement for sin.
An Alternative Egg Hunt
Adapted from Building Faith, this egg hunt connects collecting with giving. “Vouchers” are in the hidden eggs, and once found are put in the baskets for donations to organizations the meeting’s young people have chosen to support. A great opportunity to connect stewardship, care for neighbors, and discernment!
Ask Melinda for more info and the voucher template.
Anti-Racism Learning & Action
For Friends using Godly Play® stories, important news from the Godly Play Foundation: the Beloved Me, Beloved We Initiative includes an audit of stories: “One of the priorities of this initiative is to audit our storytelling curricula and materials to identify what terms, phrases, art, and materials “bump” people from different perspectives out of the circle.” The first ten stories have been reviewed by a team and suggested changes to imagery and language for three are shared in “toolkits” that are available on the Godly Play website.
The toolkits are free, and the NEW images for “Creation” and the “Parable of the Good Shepherd” stories are also available at not cost from Godly Play Resources. The new materials seek to move away from binary imagery and language that portrays darkness negatively.
Godly Play has also revised the materials for “The Faces of Easter” which now depict the faces in Jesus’ story as people of African descent. DIY prints for these materials are also available. A beautiful piece to read about these materials and the story of the change is the reflection, ”Would We Still Mourn Jesus as A Black God-Man?” by Godly Play Trainer Ebony Grisom.
Thinking about Peace
Reaching Out to Each Other
Art Exhibition Opening on May 3, 2023 – 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Arch Street Meeting House. Families and youth are welcome and encouraged to attend!
Allah is Merciful: Perhaps Allah Needs Me is an interactive, intergenerational Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) mini-workshop. Following the workshop, there will be the opportunity to visit with peace and justice workers from around the world, along with an informal discussion and light refreshments.
The Power of Goodness is a collection of true stories from around the world of how people have reacted peacefully and nonviolently in the face of prejudice and violence. They depict instructional moments in how to rely on the power of goodness in difficult situations and the amazing results of doing so. This exhibit will be at Arch Street Meeting House in coming months.
Continued Prayers for Peace in Ukraine
Sunflower Pattern origami paper to inspire Peace Cranes for Ukraine. In Japanese tradition it is said that those who fold 1,000 origami cranes will have their wish of peace granted. Available from Bookshop.org. A portion of the sales are donated in support of World Central Kitchen’s humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Interested in receiving this information and more in an email format? Subscribe to “Religious Education” to receive The Tote Bag: PYM Religious Education and Family Resources 4-6 times a year. The Tote Bag is for everyone in our Quaker community who holds space for the spiritual growth of children and youth, including parents, caregivers and guardians, religious education committees and youth workers, and Friends interested in supporting children and families.
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, iStock, and the author.