By The Reverend Katie Snipes Lancaster

On Sunday night, we had our IMPACT High School mission trip orientation meeting. This year’s IMPACT theme is pain, so Silvi Pirn had everyone write down something that has been painful for them. Everyone placed what they wrote up on the altar in the sanctuary. Youth and parents both participated. They included things like anxiety during final exams, Kobe’s death, sports injuries, the loss of a parent or grandparent, a sibling’s illness, and feeling inadequate. Nothing was particularly surprising, but each was poignant and vulnerable and personal. Life is hard. Small things add up. We need one another. We need ways to connect intimately with God, too.

Of course, this is the Children’s Ministry newsletter, and my topic is celebrating Sunday School teachers, so I’m a bit off topic, but not too far off, really. Here’s the link: when we show up together on Sunday mornings, each of us, children included, carry these kinds of pains with us into sacred places. Parents and teenagers and, yes, even three-year-olds are carrying burdens. Life is hard. We need one another. So, we gather together seeking joy and restoration. We tell stories that matter: stories from our own lives and ancient stories that yet still hold deep truths. We say what we’re thankful for. We pray. We sing. We listen. God meets us where we are.

This and more happens on Sunday mornings, led by a holy tribe of parents and volunteers who care a great deal, sacrifice time, bring their whole hearts, and risk asking God to work in and through them in a new way. I am proud and grateful for each of our Sunday School teachers, and we will celebrate them on February 23.

Activity: Practice Gratitude

Write a quick thank you note to someone who has made an impact on you or your child’s spiritual life this week. Short, hand-written notes or drawings are a delightful treat in mailboxes overflowing with bills and junk.

Expressing gratitude to God is done through prayer and stewardship.  Pledges are gifts of gratitude that support the vibrant children, youth and family ministries at Kenilworth Union Church. Read the final church appeal and explanation here.