Advent 4 and Christmas: Love

Joyce VanceLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas: We blow out the candle of fear and light the candle of love. Lectionary texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20 A child has been born! During the time of preparation, expectant parents have both joy and fear; hope and anxiety; confidence and doubt. What will the child be like? How will their world change when he or she is born? When will the arrival take place? Will the child be … Read More

Inside Out: Life in the Teenage Brain

Rodger NishiokaBrain Research

In the Disney Pixar film Inside Out released last year, adolescent Riley is sad, angry, and lonely after her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  She embarks on a plan to run away and buys a cross country ticket and boards a bus to go back to her former home.  After her parents realize she is missing and discover she was not in school the whole day, they frantically start searching for her.  At … Read More

Inheriting and Tweaking Rituals

Tammy WinchipRituals and Transitions

When we inherit things it not only means the fine china, it also means the expired #10 cans of green beans. What we inherit can be a case of the good, the bad, and the ugly…or a case of the good, the not so good, and the fabulous. It takes some care and planning to re-shape or polish a valued ritual. In my most recent call I inherited a fourth grade Catechism Class. Here are the steps I took in approaching this ritual.

Step 1: Treading Lightly

When I am new at a church, I try to be open to the history and practices of that congregation. During introductions, casual conversations often lead to the sharing of personal opinions. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Anne and I have been a Sunday School teacher for 16 years. I have taught children to youth, but don’t ever ask me to teach that Seniors Class [insert eye roll here].”

The Rite of Way in Faith: Rites of Passage and Youth Ministry

Gina Yeager-BuckleyRituals and Transitions

Adolescence, at least US/North American adolescence, can be seen as a seven-year span of age (12–18 years) or grades (6th–12th grades). Over these seven years, numerous adolescent status changes occur: puberty, educational structure, licensing, sexual attraction, dating, working, future forecasting (post high school plans, such as college, vo-tech, travel), and voting.

As youth ministry has taken the great step to shrink the distance between the young person and their faith formation (meaning faith isn’t just about a Sunday schedule), there is significant meaning and impact in connecting youth ministry to to the rites of adolescence or the Rites of Passage.

Rituals and Transitions: Back-to-School Litanies

Julie HesterRituals and Transitions

As we move into fall programming, the Advocate will spend several weeks on a series of articles about Rituals and Transitions. We’ll hear from Gina Yeager-Buckley about connecting youth ministry to rites of passage in adolescence. Tammy Winchip will describe how she inherited and tweaked a beloved catechism class in a new call. Lib Caldwell will share with us a wealth of ideas on giving Bibles to children and youth at various stages. We begin … Read More