St. Matthias, Midlothian, hosted an All Hallows' Eve Drive-Thru Parade on Saturday, October 31st. We hand out Sunday school and Youth Ministry meeting supplies each month. For November, it was paired with our All Hallows' Eve parade. Kids and adults alike dressed up. Everyone picked up their supplies and received a Halloween goodie bag (special thanks to Sandy Noell & Suzi Napier for the bags!). We try to hold events that keep our congregation connected to the church while staying safe. So much fun!
Our Sunday school curriculum, Living the Good News, teaches, inspires and involves the younger members of our congregation in prayer, worship and spiritual growth. Living the Good News is a lectionary based curriculum that uses the weekly scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary. It involves all age levels studying the same scriptures at the same time.
Pre-K through 5th grade learners dig into the scriptures through art, music, movement and more.
For our young teens (Grades 6-10) there is an increasing pressure to fit in. These Sunday school sessions help the teachers communicate unconditional acceptance and teach how faith helps teens weather problems, accept shortcomings and make wise choices.
Our older high school class (Grades 11-12) use a different program. Varying topics, relevant to how they can adapt to their ever-changing lives and world as Christians are discussed. These topics include: Doubt, Ritual & Tradition, Myths, True Self/False Self, Theism/Atheism/Agnosticism, and Mindfulness, among others. Ideas for self-discovery and service invite teens to put God's love to work in their peer groups, parish and community.
We believe this curriculum gives our children and adolescents a great start in Christian Formation. And to bring in some even more basic teachings of our faith, we are providing each class with a learning goal, essential to our Episcopal faith practices. Here are the objectives for each class:
The aim is to teach each class the history and meaning of the listed goal and in some instances have the students be able to recite them. In the case of the personal credo, the objective is to assist those students to start thinking about what their own personal beliefs are.
Want to learn more about the Sunday school, our curriculum, or the new goals? Come on by and let’s chat!
Did you hear? Were you aware? The children and youth of St. Matthias were doing some pretty crazy stuff duringLent. And all in the name of prayer! OK, now that I’ve gotten your attention, let me fill you in on the details.
Wanting to provide a Lenten program to help guide our younger parishioners on their journey to becoming closer to God, I thought, “let’s do a series on prayer.” Let’s get down to some basic knowledge about this thing called prayer. Throughout the Bible, believers are called to pray. But what is prayer? What does it mean to "pray without ceasing?" And does prayer really make a difference? Before delving too deeply into the topic of prayer, I thought it would be beneficial to first define the term, as well as the focus of our prayers—God.
And so, we began our journey called, “Finding Joy Through Prayer” together each Wednesday evening during Lent. During the first evening together we discussed who, what, why and how we pray. We ended the session by making pretzels to remind us of arms crossed in prayer, which were also used for the Eucharist during the service that evening.
The next week was spent studying the Lord’s Prayer. We examined what each word means and how it was Jesus himself who gave us this prayer as an example of how to pray. To celebrate this gift, we made a lengthy prayer chain using the words to the Lord’s Prayer. And it was the young people who recited the Lord’s Prayer for all of us attending the service that evening. It was a beautiful unison of voices in prayer! The kids continued to add their prayers to the prayer chain each week during Lent.
Our third shared evening taught us about the many different objects, articles of clothing, artifacts, etc. that help people pray. We discovered how some use prayer beads, spinning spindles, engravings on a wooden tablet with a picture, or incense to pray. We learned what a tallit, a kippah and a kusti are. Then we hammered nails onto a piece of wood, in the form of a cross and strung yarn around the nails. And we used this art to help us pray by touching each nail and saying a part of the Lord’s Prayer together. Each young person presented their art work during the Prayers of the People at the service that evening.
As Holy Week was approaching we turned our focus to the Last Supper and Jesus’ time spent praying in Gethsemane. We discussed why Jesus would even need to pray. And we touched upon the many ways this scenario has been interpreted. We read the Bible interpretation. We watched a musical interpretation with parts from Jesus Christ Superstar. And then we made our own interpretation of the Last Supper and Jesus praying in Gethsemane in Lego form! The young people participated in the service that evening by reading the Prayers of the People.
Our final evening devoted to Finding Joy Through Prayer was spent leading four younger children and eight youth through the stations of the cross. When we had finished, we came together in a circle. A basket of polished stones with a cross engraved upon each stone was passed around. Each person chose a stone for the one standing next to them. They placed the stone in their neighbor’s hand and said a prayer for them. It was a beautiful and memorable event to be a part of. And again, the young people read the Prayers of the People during the service that evening.
I love providing a program such as this because Christian formation really matters. In fact, nothing happens if it doesn’t happen. St. Paul said as much in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Christian formation is about Jesus Christ being formed in our lives to the point that our lives begin to reflect his life, that our love begins to reflect his love. His way becomes our way. That we love like Jesus, and give like Jesus and forgive like Jesus and do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with God like Jesus; Christian formation is about Christ being formed by the power of the spirit of God in us and when that happens the world changes because we’ve changed. Christian formation matters, in fact nothing else happens until it happens.
Our first day of Sunday School was a hit - we hope that you were there, but if you weren't, you're welcome to join us anytime!!
COLLEGE MINISTRY AT ST. MATTHIAS
Adjusting to college life often means dealing with many things for the first time — all at the same time: learning to live with roommates, handling finances, taking care of household chores, interacting with people from other cultures with other beliefs,trying out romantic partnerships. This is in addition to new academic demands, such as learning how to study effectively, getting work done on time, and navigating the bureaucracy of a big institution. And even those who are not freshmen still have many ‘new’ things to take care of and get used to.
Through these tasks, college students learn how they respond to life’s daily challenges and find the social and emotional support they need from the campus community, friends, and you — their family — to make their way.
College students are navigators in the difficult waters that separate adolescence from adulthood. As they take more responsibility for their daily lives and develop life skills that are as vital as any academic coursework, it’s important that they have a reliable source of support.
Parents provide much of this support. But it always helpful to have a wider network of encouragement. That is why we are creating a college ministry at St. Matthias. We hope to provide care packages, special events during college breaks, cards and letters from our congregation and encouraging emails. We would like to include the whole parish in this ministry, so let me know if you and/or your ministry group would be interested in participating. And if you have a college student, please make sure to provide me with their name, email address, an updated mailing address, cell phone and birthday.
One thing is for certain – the surest way we can ALL support these young adults is by holding them up in prayer. So please keep these students in your continuous prayers: Trenton Morris, Truman Morris, Daniel Newsom, Eva Tyler, Claudia Reinhardt, Grace Doebler, Kate Reid, Madison Haske, Jenna Johnson, Keene Mendenhall, Lillian Boone, Savannah Isenberg, Juliana Doebler, Cameron Hawkins, Reid Kirtley, Evan Morrison, Wade Pearrell, Jack Wynne, Michael Buleza, Tori Buckner, Shannon Larkin, Adriane Vaughan, Adrienna Alexander, Anne Clarke Vandeweghe, Sam Reid,Luke Jefferson, Grace Jefferson, David Henry, Colin Greatwood, Miles Greatwood, Alissa Doebler, and Elizabeth Buckner.
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