Building & Grounds is seeking people with the following skills to assist in addressing regular maintenance and keeping St. Matthias in good working order. If you have the time and talent in any of these areas, please reach out to Mike Vandeweghe directly or email Building & Grounds.
Several years ago I felt a calling to be a Stephen Minister, to walk alongside someone who wanted a Christian care-giver. I received the training at my church, but then relocated to Richmond before being assigned to a care receiver.
After my move, I joined Christ the King Lutheran church, and shortly thereafter it formed a Stephen Ministry group. I was welcomed immediately as an already trained minister. My first care-receiver was a beautiful woman with a terminal illness. Due to her illness, she lost her ability to speak… but we found numerous ways to communicate, sharing many precious, intimate moments of faith, a mutual love for reading, and prayers for what lay ahead. I often felt she was teaching me through her patience and unwavering love of God. I was blessed to know this woman, and very deeply strengthened by her example of faith.
Pat Whitmer, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Note: Christ the King’s Stephen Ministry program is shared with our St. Matthias program
The school year is over and I can predict the conversations that many churches are having about summer Sunday School/Children’s Liturgy during staff meetings now that we’re in the post-Easter era of the church calendar year. That conversation might go something like this:
Rector (R): So, what do we have planned for summer Sunday School/Children’s Liturgy?
Director of Christian Formation (DCF): Yah…we’re still trying to decide if we are going to offer something.
R: Okay – but we want to continue to offer something for our children during worship, because if we don’t, young families will just stop coming to worship during the summer.
DCF: Right – but even when we offer something – people don’t come. Or we might get 1-2 kids one week, 3 the next week, and none the week after that. Besides, our teachers need a break after teaching throughout the school year.
R: Okay – scratch that. Well, what are we going to do?
DCF: Honestly? I don’t know. We have the same conversation every year. The year that we decided to give teachers a break, which they deserved, and didn’t offer anything for children, some parents were concerned that there wasn’t anything for their kids to do. But then the next year, when we did offer a summer Sunday School program for children, our teachers got burned out. And then only little Jimmy would be there. And we all love little Jimmy…and little Jimmy loves this church – but that’s a hard place for a kid to be – the only kid there with the teachers? Who wants to be that kid?
R: Okay – great. So, what I hear you saying is that we ARE going to have summer Sunday School?
DCF: Ummm, let me get back to you on that.
Conversations like this happen so many times. And it’s not an easy one. I don’t think churches want to make program decisions that will cause kids and families to not want to come to worship in the summer. But it’s really hard to convince people to do summer Sunday School when you don’t know if people will be there or not, and it is often hard to find available Sunday School teachers for the summer.
So a church can decide to do nothing, and just accept the fact that they may see families less during the summer, or they can decide to put together a summer program, and then be frustrated when families don’t come and deal with frustrated teachers who have prepped lessons for no one.
This is why we are introducing a summer program for kids up through rising 6th graders. Children’s Liturgy will be on hiatus for the summer. As an alternative offering, we are providing Summer J.A.M. (Jesus And Me), starting June 3rd during the entirety of the 10:00 am service!!! Kids will meet in the Nursery for suitable movies that will provide insight to God, His love, and His word. We will also provide a light snack. Parents attending the service can drop off their children before the service begins and are asked to pick them up directly after the service. Please sign in your child, using the sign-in sheet just outside the door. Come and join in on the fun!
We had a wonderful Sunday school year. We had many interesting and fun-filled Sundays. One Sunday Scott Vollmer and John Vance visited us to talk about the prison ministry. We asked if they were scared, what did they eat, who got to come to their weekends. Best of all we made 2 new friends. We talked a lot about our St Matthias Family. We even took pictures and put them on a poster in our room. We did foot washing during Lent. And we had our own communion in the classroom with apple juice and wafers. We went into the church and baptized a baby doll and worked on finding passages in the Bible. We learned the Lord’s Prayer and what it meant. But most importantly we learned to trust God because he is our friend and loves us unconditionally. Hope all the children have a wonderful summer!
Somewhere in Midlothian today, a car broke down, a glass shattered, a house caught on fire, someone died suddenly, someone went for alcoholism rehabilitation, a child was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, a computer's entire data base was lost, someone declared bankruptcy---all in a day somewhere in Midlothian, VA - oh, and probably more than just these things.
When these things happen especially to us - our first impulse is to go into fix it or hide from it mode. We don't want to acknowledge that it ever happened. We try to gloss over the difficulty and stay positive. Always stay positive! Even when the truth of it all is, its not positive. This methodology can lead us, ironically, into destructive and potentially dangerous habits. When we tend towards Pollyanna-ism, what we are doing is placing ourselves in a state of denial or outright delusion. We say, no!, I will not see this as it really is! And, we miss the process: we miss the process of healing. We miss the process of learning. We miss Resurrection. We miss part of the essence of our journey in faith.
Of course, we need to sweep up the glass and get the car running again. But if thats all we do, we will never learn how the car broke down or the glass got broken. Well never see how leaving the stove on and walking away is not a good idea. Well stop drinking for a few weeks or months, but never address our alcoholism.
And, theres something else well avoid like the plague. In ignoring and denying the places in our lives where we are broken, we will also avoid any opportunity to use the experiences of our foibles to help others in their journeys of similar experience. We will miss our opportunities for blessing.
Our blessings are found through our interrelatedness- our connections- our ability to relate to each other. When I share my brokenness with you (not for you to fix me or in a needy sort of way), you can find someone who understands as others will not.
It is in our brokenness, our vulnerability, that we as a people can relate to each other. It is not, nor will it ever be, through how perfectly put together we appear. So, let us not rush to quick fixes and band-aid approaches that deny us true healing and blessing.
The body of Christ was broken for us that we might find healing and wholeness that we might be one forever with God. As Christs disciples, we are called to follow Jesus. We are called to offer our brokenness in the healing of others- and so find blessing as well.
Your Sister in Christ,
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