By The Reverend Christine V. Hides

Every conversation lately includes the question, “what is your school doing for fall?” I’m guessing it is the same for you too. Most of us will be waiting until late July or early August for more clear-cut plans to be released.

In Children and Family Ministry we have a different but related question. “What do children and families need right now?” followed by, “how can we help meet this need?”

I recently listened to Christine Fonseca, author of the book Healing the Heart: Helping Your Child Thrive After Trauma, on the Mind Matters podcast titled “Preparing for Post Pandemic Recovery.” In April she predicted that coming out of shelter-in-place would be traumatic. If our feelings of exhaustion and the anxiety on social media are an indicator her prediction is correct—the uncertainty around returning to school is causing trauma. Support and connection are necessary as we navigate parenting in a pandemic. We are here for you.

Children and Family Ministry is supporting parents and children in these three areas, in accordance with Fonseca’s recommendations:

  1. Fostering Connection: The pandemic has raised our awareness of the importance of human connection. The unchanging truth amidst this uncertainty is that church is community. Strengthening relationships is the priority for any and all Children and Family Ministry opportunities. Community is a cornerstone of our online platform, CONNECT, which is currently in beta testing.
  2. Safety, both physical and psychological: Teachers have a saying, “Maslow before Bloom.” According to Maslow’s hierarchy, our basic human needs must be met before learning and growing as humans. Safety is one of those basic human needs. As the Back to Church Team continues to develop safe church procedures, our ministry team is supporting psychological well-being by offering the comfort of ritual and routine in our weekly story time, Sunday school, and Candle Time. Because movement and time outside are also key to dealing with stress, we offer activities and suggestions to help families incorporate these practices throughout the week.
  3. Social-Emotional Skills: Self-awareness and self-regulation are keys to our health and well being. Mindfulness and mind-body connection are helpful practices that relate closely to our spiritual well being. Prayer and gratitude are ways that we ground ourselves in the present moment. Walking the labyrinth and praying while moving are ways to connect our mind and our bodies. Children and Family Ministry incorporates these practices into our gatherings. We also share prayer practices with parents on our website and in this newsletter. We are working on organizing these prayerful practices in our new CONNECT platform.

Finally, please know that the Children and Family Ministry staff is here for you. If you have a question, concern, or just want to chat, please email or call us at 847-853-2106. We would love to connect with you.

Activity

Journey with Flat Jesus in July

This activity is part reading challenge and part adventure with Flat Jesus (inspired by the book, Flat Stanley). Download this guide, read the 13 Bible stories from a Bible of your choice (or watch the videos linked in the .pdf), then email a picture to Greta Connor when you are finished to receive a small prize in the mail.

Posted on July 18, 2020