Designing a New Normal for Grace Families

First of all, I applaud you for your hard work parenting during the pandemic. It was difficult, challenging, and seemingly endless. But as we return to normal, I want to learn from the lessons provided by this time of isolation and insulation. I want to reach for a new normal for the children and family ministries at Grace. We have learned the worth of spending time together with our families and we have lived thru the pain of separation from our friends, extended family, and church community.

On July 4th, we will be able to invite our youngest community members back in the Grace Little Kids & Nursery classroom. Programming will include a special circle time for prayer, song and story. Kids will be invited to set the worship table with items such as a special tablecloth, bible, a Jesus doll, a bell and battery-operated candles. Adults and youth will assist with caregiving and free play throughout the rest of the morning.

At this point we are still seeking one more adult volunteer to serve monthly. So, for those weeks that there is no volunteer caregiver, or if you would like to have your young child with you in the worship service, the PrayGround will be available at the back of the sanctuary, with books and quiet toys.

As for GraceKids, I have seen such commitment, consistency, and spiritual growth in weekly attendance at our zoom meetings at 1pm on Sundays that these sessions will continue. On Sunday mornings children will be welcomed into the worshipping community, with services moving toward an approach that will be designed to engage all ages present. Clipboards with worksheets and coloring pages will continue to be available, that either relate to the sermon or the zoom class lesson that afternoon.

But parents remain the most important faith formers in a child’s life. You may not realize it, but you are forming faith with every decision you make, every truth you tell, each time you forgive, and every hug you give. I want to serve you and come alongside what is already happening in your home.

At a recent conference I heard Jared Patrick Boyd speak about what our kids need from us. These three simple statements really rang true for me with respect to our children:

1. They need to be able to watch us grow and change

2. They need to see our lives yielded to Jesus.

3. They need to hear our questions.

To support parents, I will begin inviting you to periodic family gatherings either at the church or in homes. The aim of these get-togethers is to gather families together for social interaction and to provide encouragement to you in the faith formation that is already occurring in your homes. I consider them a key element in the faith formation plan for the children of Grace, and hope to see you frequently.

Starting on July 7th, Grace at the Beach is returning on Wednesday evenings at 6pm with the opportunity to participate in beach yoga with Raquel, collaborative beach art, worship and discussion all themed around the summer sermon series, The Gift of a Sacred Summer.

I welcome your input and feedback as we forge new paths together with God and I’m looking forward to taking this journey into the new normal together! See you soon. – Bonnie