While many meetings take a break in religious education programs during the summer months, there are opportunities during the summertime to connect with families and start to think ahead to next fall. Events and resource suggestions below! Later in June, watch for the Youth Programs staff to share activities for meeting and home in preparation for Annual Sessions, July 26-30. These will be shared for meetings to do over the summer, or send home to families.
The Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports being shared with the Yearly Meeting’s Ministry and Care Committee indicate that there’s a wide range of “what’s happening” with children and youth programs in local meetings. We’re in this together! Thinking past the summer to programs next fall, it feels like a good moment to bring back the question of “why” (why do we have religious education programs? how do they connect with our outreach practices?) to help guide the “how” of future planning. The updated “What’s Next? Looking Ahead Planning Guide (.pdf)” shares queries and discussion prompts for a meeting to explore where they are, and where they want to go.
To Share with Parents and Caregivers
- Workshop Opportunity: Supporting the Ministry of Parenting“Parenting is a vital ministry, but it’s often under-supported. Many Quaker parents long for nurture and community.” On Tuesday, June 6 at 7pm, Friends United Meeting’s Unleashing the Power series will host a 90-minute workshop that will include presentations and discussion to explore: How can Quaker communities best support and nurture parents as they engage in the holy work of raising children?
- Nurturing Mental Health for Gen Z: A Handbook for Parents is a new, free resource for people parenting/caregiving. Springtide Research Institute is the only sociological research institute in the US entirely focused on ages 13-25. I’ve appreciated and shared their studies with other youth workers because of the focus on faith formation and religious identity. “Compelled by the urgent desire to listen and attend to the lives of young people, Springtide Research Institute is committed to understanding the distinct ways new generations experience and express community, identity, and meaning.”
- For Friends working with teens, “The Teen Mental Health Crisis” also offers six tips from a youth minister for “an age of stress, isolation, loneliness, and anxiety” (and yes, smartphones, social media, social comparisons, and a compulsive need for online validation). A good read!
Book Suggestions for Meetings & Homes
A trio of beautiful books for summer!
- Dear Mama God by Daneen Akers explores the Divine in feminine form. There is an accompanying essay on “Why We Need Mama God” that’s a great read. “A delightful and nurturing meditation on our shared identity as beloved children of a mothering God.”
- The Harmony Tree by Randy S. Woodley with an afterword by Walter Brueggemann is a story of healing and compassion. A beautiful book for today, as we continue to heal and learn from the experience of the pandemic and seek to deepen our experiences of community.
- I learned about She Held Her Breath in Wonder from reading the PYM Eco-Justice Collaborative newsletter, and discovering the amazing work of restoring the land done by Journeywork and its founder Paige Menton, who is also the author of this picture book. A story about a 17th century visionary painter of the natural world who revolutionized scientific illustration.
A resource for meetings seeking to do outreach and be ready for visitors is “Kids Are Welcome Here!” Let me know if you would like the template to create this welcoming handout for your meeting! I recently made a batch for a music festival where my meeting will have an information table. Paired with a small box of crayons and information about the meeting, it’s a fun giveaway and outreach rolled together.
- June is Pride Month! Resources to support youth and families:
- #NoDraft Video/Essay Contest
The Center on Conscience & War is hosting a video essay contest open to all high school students grades 9-12. Submit a short video explaining why you oppose the draft and Selective Service registration. Deadline 6/30/2023. Top entries win cash prizes, up to $1,000!
- Illustrated Ministry Posters
These coloring posters are great for intergenerational worship, meeting projects, and working on together at events. There is a huge sale happening now, as they are discontinuing the product. Get yours!
Our community thrives when we share information. Please share with parents/youth workers/religious education volunteers in your meeting or community and take a minute to subscribe to PYM Religious Education news if you don’t receive this information in the “Tote Bag” e-newsletter.
Visit the Religious Education section of our website for more resources and support on a range of topics. And when you find, “I have a question about resources, programs,” or “We have a great idea to share!” please reach out to Melinda Wenner Bradley, Director of Program and Religious Life, email@example.com