Tag Archives: youth

Spiritual Autobiography:Year 3

The best is yet to come. TBTG!

Yesterday during our weekly EFM { Education for Ministry} seminar, it was my tern to give the annual ” Spiritual Autobiography” I’ve discovered that every year that I do this excercise, it becomes slightly easier to do *AND* I am lead by he Spirit to share { and omit} different parts of my Christian journey.

This year I talked much more about my teen years spent at Hill Top Presbyterian church when we lived in Ohio. During Years 1 & 2 of EFM, I was still healing from some deep spiritual/emotional wounds & my spiritual autobiography reflected as much. God hs led me to a point where I can FINALLY forgive & forget those who have ceased speaking to me since I came to my current Small Episcopal Church.

As I prayerfully prepared what I was shaing for this year, I wanted to avoid focusing on the negativity surrounding my departure from the last church I attended before coming to my current parish. I was baptized at the age of 20{ Yes!} at Hill Top Presbyteran Church in rural Ohio, I realized that the love , instruction & support I recieved from this small church as a teen { and as a teen coming from an unchurched family} played a huge part in my own walk with God & God’s Son.

In this year’s autobiography I’ve finally verbalized that my passion for Christian Education & youth ministry originated from how much the good people of Hill Top Presbyterian Church nurtured me. I am the woman,the Christian & the teacher that I am today mainly beacuse of the relationships formed at Hill Top Church. At Hill Top, I leared that church is abut a COMMUNITY of believers & sbsequently I’ve found such a community here at Small Parish. :O)

If I reach one young person and impact him or her as much as the folks at Hill Top did when I was young, I’ll accomplish my mission. Of course I the parish’s education & youth programs to grow, but in order to bring in more families it is imperative to nurture community with the youth we are blessed with already. { and , even if I do say so myself, Small Parish is blessed wth some awesome youth who regularly are party of ou community}

As an active layperson in the Episcopal church, my prayer is that God shows me how to use my gifts to build community among the youth & children of my parish *and* our Diocese.

The purpose of EFM{ and please correct me if I am wrong} is to equip laypersons to better identify & enrich their individual baptized ministry. Right now, I am called to work with organizing & implementing programs for the younger Church. Thanks be to God, I am blessed with a good example of an effective small-church Christian education comunity-building that was my experience at Hill Top Presbyterian Church. Thanks, y’all.


Letter to Myself at 17{ Part one}

Dear Teenaged Sarah:

I know that high school sucks, but I promise that things will get better. You have so much to look forward to in the near future, including college. Everyone says that college is nothing like high school & this is correct. You’ll move away from your parents for the first time, meet ew friends, join a sorority{ Yes, YOU Ms Shy, 1994 will pledge & join a sorority on campus.

You & Ginger will laugh hysterically over photos from her weddng weekend that autumn.

At Small State College you will meet many good friends, including a man who will factor as a very important person in your life. As a matter of fact, the day that you firs saw him on the campus Quad will be forever seared into your memory. :O) He is a good man & will somehow remain a life-long friend.

Small State College has a good student ministry program. Get involved. While these activities won’t keep you * completely* out of trouble, you’ll meet up with a group of peers who will become your family. The food in the cafeteria will be horrid but one of your first roommates, { thanks, Dawn!} will buy you a big coffee pot that will be used for everything from making coffee to chicken soup & Jello.

That first Thanksgiving break will be fun by the way, offering to babysit Jan & Nikki’s pet mice over the long weekend is NOT a good idea…but go ahead & critter-sit anyway.

Roommates: can’t live with them but can’t afford a private room at Small State College. It’s the same with professors…most of the teachers you’ll meet will be great but every box of proverbial chocolates has its ” cracked nuts”. By the way, go ahead sign up for Sociology 101 with Dr Herrick. She’s the epitome of the stereotype of the absent-minded & neurotic professor but tough out her class. You’ll learn there that people expect things { such as term papers–ahem!!} to be returned promptly.

Thats all for now. I’ll see you in the mirror when you are 35. The best is yet to come but no one told you life is easy.

a grown Sarah

It takes a ” Village”

” It takes a village to raise a child.”~ Hillary Clinton.

On Sunday evening my little parish hosted our first Episcopal Youth Connection{ EYC} meeting in the parish hall. The program was ” Popcorn Theology” , so we watched a Harry Potter movie & had a discussion with our young people but the theological symbolism & implications found in the Harry Potter books & movies.

Anyhow, It was GREAT! I am especially grateful for the adult volunteers that made this first EYC evening a success. While I am very content with my ministry as Director of Christian Education at my small parish, it takes more than just one person to create & implement a Christian Education ministry. the help I had Sunday evening from the other adult volunteers was phenomenal! Yinz rock!

Ministry is a team effort, & I am blessed to have such a great team working with me to minister to & with the next generation of Christ-followers.

I am anticipating with joy the next EYC event scheduled in October. :O)

Advice to new college grads…

I am not famous nor rich enough to secure an invite to any college or university’s commencement, but I do have some advice for the Class of 2011.

~ The future is exciting, but don’t forget from whence you came. Maintain roots with your community of origin.
~ Be grateful that you had the opportunity to attend college. Not everyone who is so inclined can obtain a college degree.
~ READ READ READ READ. Education doesn’t end upon graduations. Learning is a lifelong pursuit isn’t always ” just for the test”
~ Keep , or get , physically fit. Strong bodies & strong minds do co-relate.
~Volunteer. Everyone, no matter how busy with life, can carve time to give to those in need. Time is as important to give as is money.
~ Control credit card debt.
~ Don’t worry about finding your life’s partner right away. Women, especially, need not worry about the ” MRS degree”. This is 2011 & it’s really ok to be picky when it comes to finding a partner. I know that it seems as though * everyone* has someone with whom they believe to spend their lives, but this is simply not true. Take your time to meet all sorts of people before deciding that you need to settle with one person.
~” Life’s a dance you learn as you go/ sometimes you lead/ sometimes you follow. Find mentors who can help you navigate life’s rough patches.

Good luck & God Bless.

Convention 2011: Wh00t!

Today we had ONE Mass followed by our parish’s Annual meeting{ and THEN followed by a monthly Potluck!} Although I generally am not a fan of annual parish meetings, this one went by well. 201o was an…unusual year for me & my parish. But its all good now. When I was a Presbyterian I HATED congregational meetings & the still are far from my favorite part of life as an Episcopalian. But let me go on record as saying that Anglican Partish Annual Meetings are really not as trying as are the similar sorts of meetings I attended as a Presbyterian.

I. Love. My . Parish! :O)

We elected two new Vestry members & three Convention delegates. And….I am going to Convention as a VOTING delegate. Last year I went, but went as my parish’s alternate delegate. This year, I actually have a vote. :O) Plus, the format of the Convention will be the usual three-day{ well, more like two-and-a half days} event in Fairhope, Alabama. My parish has a GREAT group of delegates for the 2011 Central Gulf Coast Convention & of course it shall be wonderful to see my friends from around the Diocese at Convention.

An added joy this year will be the ordination of the Diocese’s first class of vocational { permanent, for all my Roman Catholic friends} deacons. My dear Cursillio sister-in-Christ, Susan, will be among those ordained & I am triple glad that I get to personally witness her ordination into the Order of { vocational} Deacons. Susan, I am so so so so proud of you!

National Novel Writers’ Month

Go to http://www.nanowrimo.com . The month of November is National Novel Writers’ Moth & I m, along with professional & amateur writers gather online to write 50,000 words in ONE month. I did this last year & failed miserably. But anyone who knows me at all knows how stubborn I am & I am trying this challenge again.

If anyone wants to join me, my NANWRIMO name is ” Steeler_Bama_Chick” Yep! :O) You still have another day to sign up for the challenge.

In other news: my parish’s first annual Halloween youth & childrens’ party is tomorrow at 5p.m. We are gonna take the little kids trick-or-treating, eat yummy chili for supper, then settle in to watch spooky but fun movie. I hope & pray that kids & youth from my parish enjoy this event.

I hate sick days

I’m home sick today. Yuck.

I have a fever, aching bones, a headache & extreme fatigue. Yesterday was spent pretty much napping in my bed & reading a book I’d bought on sale at Barnes & Nobles’ the day before. Even though I felt no appetite, I ate anyhow & right now am feeling slothful on top of achy, fevered & fatigued.

There isn’t a whole lot to report since I last posted, but I * did* discover today that a youth in my parish is among those chosen to be on her school’s Homecoming Court. As silly as I find the whole Homecoming Court tradition, when nice kids are chosen to represent their school it warms my heart.

I’ll stand by You Part One

Yah..back in my Presbyterian days I’d written a sermon using this song” I’ll Stand By You” by the 1990’s group The Pretenders. While the video to the song is a bit emo for my usual tastes, I love the words to this song. The refrain, especially, always has special meaning to me. It goes something like this:

I’ll stand by you/ I’ll stand by you/ Won’t let anyone hurt you/I’ll stand by you

That is a promise important enough repeated three times. No matter what, the narrator of the lyrics promises to stick with her beloved NO MATTER WHAT THE WORLD THROWS AT THEM. This sort of devotion is rare in most of this postmodern American society. As I move forward with m parish family one of the things that I’d like to instill with our parish’s children & youth s a see of the unconditional LOVE of God. I want to be a Christ-Light & a Christ-bearer to the younger people to whom I minister & with whom I share this Christian journey.

In my Christian Life , I have been blessed with people who have NOT left my life. These important friends, mentors, spiritual siblings, ect have stood by & continue to ” stand by” me. Several of these folks live miles from my coastal Florida home but they are still very much a part of my life. My amazing Godparents come to mind as excellent examples of people who continue to be Christ-bearers in my life ” from afar”.

Technology is a * great* way that we Christians can stand by & be present with each other when we might not get any chances to enjoy personal time together. For instance, I make it a practice to intentionally write on the Facebook walls of the kids from my parish who have moved on for college. These awesome young people are a big part of my faith story I am glad that technology exists so that I can send a brief message letting them know how proud I am. :O )

All people, but perhaps especially our young folks, need stability & meaningful relationships with adults. I pray every da that I will be the best Christian example to our youth that I can be while still remaining authentic.

my myspace

So I created another myspace account. Since I am in ministry with youth & children, I figured I might as well start a Myspace again. his me I am not gonna put any” bells & whistles” on my Myspace page nor will I accept the use of any third-party applications. I am still blogging here & prefer Facebook, but if some youth *only* have a myspace, then I’ll be accessible to them that way. At this point I am not certain how much I will use this new Myspace account, but at least it exists.

Myspace apparently has really reformatted & change since I left the service over two years ago. It eads a lot more like Facebook now{ gee, I wonder why??} & also s MUCH more secure thanks be to God, as Myspace of old carried many worms & viruses.

And we’re off to a roaring start!

I survived my first Sunday as Education Director at my parish. TBTG! I am TIRED but at the same time super-exited about this new ministry. This morning was ” Blessing of the Backpacks & at the later Mass{ the one I usually attend} we had three youngsters come forward for a special blessing in honor of back-to-school.

EfM starts in a few weeks and I’m excited about Year Two. { New Testament} I’d briefly considered taking a hiatus from EfM this year but what with the responsibilities of my new ministry as Education Director I really should complete EfM sooner rather than later. Pus, I totally enjoy the learning, fellowship & worship opportunities that are unique to EfM. O)

I’m also planning a couple trips, one back to the Lake & one to Alabama. The latter will be a road trip with a good friend of mine & we still have to firm the date. But the trip back up North is a done deal & I am so, so excited to finally see AUTUMN.

Football has begun. Thanks to the rain here I did not attend the home opener of the local high school, but hopefully will attend Friday’s game. COLLEGE FOOTBALL also starts this week….Roll ‘Tide Roll! Regarding my Steelers, I am very cautiously optimistic. I have high hopes for Charlie Batch this season.