Message from Jeff.....
December 2, 2019
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. As many of you remember, we recently hosted FCD Prevention Works for a Prodigal Parent Series on teen substance abuse including vaping. After some work with John and others there, we're able to provide you a wealth of resources. Please feel free to share.
For a listing of these articles, please go to: Substance Abuse Workshop Follow Up
Please know that I am happy to chat with you either in person or over the phone as someone who's talked with teenagers about the topics for 20+ years. We're all in it together.
Coming up, please check out:
- December Fest - High School weekend at Westminster Woods 12/6 - 12/8
- Get a needed break from the grind with ropes courses, big camp games, worship, and deep conversations all with your best friends
- Register at: https://westminsterwoods.campbrainregistration.com/
December Fest Weekend
- Small Groups!
- Tam Small Group - meets every Friday, 6:40am
- Branson Small Group - in the works!
- Save the dates:
- RECLAIM Weekend - 2/21 - 2/23
- HS Mission Trip 2020 - 7/26 - 8/1
Our fall semester high school Sunday school class focuses on Prayer. This part of our core curriculum was brought up a lot by different people in the church. For that reason we developed a middle school and high school version. This version of it will be much less theory and conversation about prayer and much more actual praying! Our hopes and goals are twofold: to give our youth the tools to pray in ways that come naturally to them and to create a sense of normalcy surrounding prayer. Basically, we hope our youth have a vibrant lifelong prayer life. This series will meet through the first weekend of December.
Steffen Bartschatt, Spiritual Life Commission member
|Traditional Labyrinth||A labyrinth helps direct one's focus toward God. Unlike a maze, which has dead ends and the possibility of getting lost, a labyrinth has a clear path, but it sometimes takes unexpected twists and turns. In this way it resembles the journey of life.|
|Rev. Dave Bray, retired senior pastor of 30+ years||Prayer Walking||Walking is something we're always doing. We do it down the halls of home, school, work and places of play. We do it outside. Since we believe God's presence is everywhere let's take advantage by entering into conversation with God in the mundane moments of simple walking.|
|Mt. Tam Cemetery||Prayers of Lament||Many high schoolers are deeply distraught about the world around them. While visiting a cemetery we consider all the things that scare, worry, and make us indignant including gun violence, the environment, bullying, and simple existential questions of meaning and purpose. What if we followed in the footsteps of those before who "cried out" to God in sincerity, opening our broken heart in prayer?|
|New Life Assembly youth leadership team||How Other High Schoolers Pray||Some high school students from new Life Assembly, a charismatic church in Novato, will join us to lead us in some prayer practices they and their youth group do regularly.|
Dan O'Regan, Director of Religious Education, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
|Tactile Catholic Prayers||Some Catholic prayer rituals go back 100s of years to the founding of Christianity. Many of them are tactile in nature involving beads, smoke, or other things we can see, smell, and touch.|
|ReJesus Labyrinth||Contemporary Labyrinth||We travel through a new style of labyrinth which uses many modern day items we encounter regularly. Walking through the stations affects all 5 senses and heightens our awareness to God's presence in our everyday lives.|
|Create Stations||Our youth begin preparation on our prayer practices for the congregation to participate in.|
|Outdoor Labyrinth||We finish preparations for our own prayer practice session and lead anyone willing from the community and congregation in it.|
Have 3 Minutes to Read? - Why Don't We teach Anything?
One of the best features of the Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meet Up is that there is no teaching. There are two main benefits to this. One is that our young people have been sitting in classes all week then again on the weekend at their congregations and we want them to, yet again, sit and listen attentively as someone many of them won't know shares a lesson with them. What percentage of these youth will that lesson be remembered by?
Then again, what if we took that time (because time is of the essence, we can't stay there forever) and used it towards a service project that all of them are passionate about? After all, the point of the Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meet Up is to help normalize relationships between faith communities. Playing icebreakers together introduces them to each other in a fun way. Singing songs like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift bring us together by their harmonies and hooks that we all know. Playing an upfront game gives us all a chance to laugh with each other. Serving together, if only for 30 minutes, allows us to work together on a common task. Working together is a much better conduit to getting to know one another than sitting quietly while somebody else talks.
Going even deeper and behind the scenes, one of the things that prevents many faith communities from getting involved is the apprehension about what somebody else might say from an upfront role. Unfortunately, many youth groups only feel comfortable when one of their own is the teacher. "We'd love to have you come to your youth group," but, "we're not comfortable sitting in yours." When we take the microphone away from each other we allow the youth themselves to be the ones talking...to each other! And that's what these are all about.
We don't have to tell our youth that inclusivity and interfaith relationships are important. They know that. We just have to show them what they look like.