I learned a few years ago that the origin for January’s name comes from the Roman god Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking forward, the other looking back. I think the ancient Romans showed a lot of wisdom naming the first month of the new year after this two-faced archetype!
When I look back on 2013, I am amazed at all that our youth have done: baked cookies and helped at the University Churches Emergency Fund dinner (Jo Gustafson’s organization); participated in Discipling classes, taking them from the outdoor labyrinth at Seattle Center, to a seder meal prepared by Pastor Joan, to the hospice where Tim Shipe is chaplain; participating in camps at Gwinwood, Campfire, and Pilgrim Firs; Discipling Sunday in September, with baptisms and confirmations and powerful statements of faith—truly a high point of the year; singing the Stone Soup story in November; the Bake Sale camp fundraiser in December; and living into this new “normal” of youth binders, monthly Bible Studies and Youth Group gatherings.
About the binders: We began using these in September as a way to help our youth transition from Sunday School to worship each week, a more grown-up version of the children’s clipboards. Even though Joan no longer does a “Moment with Children” in worship, you should know that she continues to put her customary thought and creativity into weekly inserts for these binders. Joan sends me the insert before each Sunday , and I have been consistently amazed by their beauty, simplicity and thoughtfulness, inviting the youth to enter the scriptures by a different path. In fact, I have encouraged her to keep them and offer them to the entire congregation at some point—or maybe use them in a future worship service or retreat, for a different kind of experience. They are to be treasured!
Looking forward, our first youth event in 2014 is a joint Youth Group Gathering, “Indoor Camp” with Fauntleroy UCC and Admiral UCC, Saturday Jan. 4th, 5-8 PM. This will be a potluck, with a round of “Capture the Flag” in Fauntleroy’s gym (they share space with the YMCA), S’mores, and a “campfire” with songs and guitar to round out the evening. It will be a fun way to create “critical mass” and give our kids a bit of summer in January (who doesn’t love that?).
Also in the new year, we will be looking for an opportunity to help with Mary’s Place the next time it is held at MBPPC, probably in March sometime. Finally, there is growing energy around developing a liturgical dance for worship by some of the “movers and shakers” in our youth group. Stay tuned!
I rejoice in God, always, for the gift of this ministry!