Eastern Synod Council invites you and your community of faith to be a part of God’s Backyard!
Go on a nature walk in the dark. Climb a tree. Play in the rain. A British charity has create a bucket list for kids – a collection of 50 things they should do before they turn 12 – activities like burying someone in the sands, or making a mud slide.
It started me thinking, in the weekend after Earth Day, how often we take our youth outside to experience God’s Backyard. Many of our youth events, and Sunday schools are composed of classroom activities and indoor discussions, but we may be missing an opportunity to shake things up by taking them outdoors. Perhaps a quiet nature walk even if it’s just around the neighborhood. Or planting flowers outside the church. Or it may just mean holding your Sunday morning class outside, under a shady tree.
You could also make sure you get as many youth as you can attending one of our church camps this summer where they are guaranteed to have a chance to climb a tree, or sleep under the stars. On May 6th churches across the Eastern Synod are invited to participate in God’s Backyard Sunday. Worship materials will be coming in the next few days to help your community of faith discover concrete ways God comes to us through our Eastern Synod Camps. You can find more information about our camps here:
Camp Mush-a-Mush: www.campmush.ca
Edgewood Camp and Conference Centre: www.edgewood-camp.on.ca
Lutherlyn Camp and Conference Centre: http://camplutherlyn.zxq.net
After all, Earth Day shouldn’t just be about turning off the tap and sorting the garbage. To really take root in our youth, it has to be about inspiring them to appreciate, on a truly personal level, the natural beauty around us.
To read more about the “bucket list” follow this link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/young-children/children-health/bucket-list-for-kids-50-things-to-do-before-theyre-12/article2409207/page1/
Attention all Anglican and Lutheran youth ages 13-18and Youth Leaders! We invite you to come to the annual Youth Conference which takes place Friday May 25th until Sunday May 27th at Huron Church Camp. Join us for a weekend of getting to know youth from all corners of the diocese, help bring together a vision for the future, and learn about and discuss current issues in the church. Registration began Tuesday February 28th and the cost of registration is $75 per person. All registration forms and registration fees can be sent to:
Huron Youth Conference 472 Richmond St. London, ON, N6A-3E6
Make any cheques payable to “Diocese of Huron” with “Youth Conference” on the memo line. TheFIRM deadline for all registrations is on Monday April 30th, 2012. The poster for this event and registration forms can be found athttp://news.diohuron.org/2012/02/huron-anglican-lutheran-youth.html . For more information or if you have any questions, please send them via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
posted by Sharla Ciupak
How many time have you pushed the button, creating drama solely for the sake of drama?
With so much that needs doing in the world, it seems that life should be exciting enough on its own. If we spent more time doing things to build up the world around us I suspect the urge to push that button would dissipate.
I went to the 2012 Annual Church Leaders’ Form—World Changers Event hosted by World Vision at the Metropolitan Bible Church here in Ottawa. I was excited to join other youth leaders who are engaging and empowering youth to respond to the needs of their world.
Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa
For the last five years we have been hearing about this church ‘The Met’ and I was also looking forward to seeing it. I was not disappointed. As I approached the front door I passed the keystone that read: “To the Glory of God. Not Just a Building”. Wow. This place had it together. I pulled on the door and behold it was locked, for fear of Joel. I rang the buzzer and was allowed in. The wow factor grew as I entered what felt like a miniature version of Cineplex Odeon. The place was massive. The architecture elegant. The lighting made me feel like I was ascending to heaven. The sanctuary was a theatre with plush seating. Outside the doors to the worship space was a coffee shop that would put Starbucks to shame. The youth room was like walking into Boston Pizza with an open bar of soda, popcorn and various other concessions. It was incredible. It was ‘church’ but had none of the markings I grew up with. It was the mission model of the future and I was standing in the middle of it.
I met some staff people who told me that the worship space seats 2500. They run fifty groups through the building every week. They don’t rent to daycares, or community groups on a regular basis. They don’t need to, I was told.
One of the youth leaders who runs the Sunday morning youth room café told me about the programs they run on abortion and homosexuality. “We base our programs on the Bible”, she declared with a confidence that frightened me.
To be honest, she saw me as fresh meat for ‘The Metropolitan’ Market. She did not know that I was a gay-loving, rainbow-flag-flying, Lutheran Christian with a modest understanding of who I am theologically and an acute awareness of the crucified in my midst.
And so our conversation continued and you can imagine where it went. When I asked her about the theological spectrum at The Met, she was confused. When I asked her how she handled GLTB youth in her program, she said they didn’t have any. When I asked her about the environment, politics, economy, and a variety of ecumenical social justice initiatives based out of Ottawa, she looked at me quizzically and said, “We base our programs on the Bible?”.
And then the twist: the place was empty. The 2012 Annual Church Leader’s Forum-World Changers Event sponsored by World Vision wasn’t happening, I was told because “not enough people registered”. There weren’t any participants from ‘The Met’ because “nobody was interested”. It made me wonder how viable the ministry really was beyond the glitz and glamor of the physical space. It made me wonder why a community of supposed thousands couldn’t find twenty people interested in youth and young adult ministries to attend an event they were hosting.
If you find yourselves wondering about the fundamentalist churches out there and why they seem to have so much more going on than we do consider this conversation and ask yourself if what they say is happening is real. And ask yourself whether you would make it through the door after they found out what kind of Christian you were. I know the Bible. And I know my God and the Crucified and Risen One. In my opinion, ‘The Met’ it is a healthy dose of self-importance combined with great marketing.
“The Met” is a fantastic facility. But when push comes to shove, it IS just a building. And I for one do not need a building to love and serve God.