With the help of parents in the community, I am rebuilding the youth ministry program with middle school students in St. Helena. In the last full week of October, I had a pizza dinner with ten 7th and 8th graders on a Monday night and then pizza again with four 6th graders on Tuesday night! My takeaways from these “eat and greet” events were: 1) that I should not eat that much pizza and 2) that middle schoolers would really like to gather to play games, engage in service and perhaps have deeper discussions about the mysteries of the universe and a loving God in a crazy world.
As a pilot program, separating the high school youth group time from the middle school group, I am meeting with 7th and 8th graders on Sunday evenings at 5 pm at Grace and meeting with 6th graders on Monday evenings at 6 pm at Grace! We had our first post-pizza meeting this past Sunday and Monday, and it was pretty fun. I will continue to hold these meeting times, weekly, through November and December, and then evaluate when to meet and how often in the New Year.
The high school students will continue to be invited for prayer, reflection and sharing every other Sunday morning at 10 am in the basement. In November, we are meeting on the 5th and the 19th for a two-part series on GRATITUDE.
Youth Service in the Works!
The Grace Garden. I am hoping to inspire the middle school students to help me rebuild the Grace Garden on our property at 1314 Spring Street. We still have some funds in the garden grant, and it would be fantastic to have native plants and perhaps even food growing here! If we are really on a roll, perhaps we can build a “Grace Giving” stand for folks to take whatever produce they need and leave abundance for others from their own gardens.
Taize To-Go: A Chapel at Grace. After we returned from Taize, many of us felt that it was a truly life changing trip, and wanted to continue the practice of prayer we experienced there. It seems to me that the sacred space we encountered in France had a lot to do with the experience of prayer…and I have talked with a few of our high school students about transforming part of the basement into a chapel that looks like the worship space we remember.
The Mission Trip in June 2024! I have made a plan to go to Parrish, Alabama where Jubilee House is located and run by our own Ryan Cagle. We will learn about the ministries, community services and a new way to “be church” that Jubilee House can share with us, as well as embark on a civil rights walking tour of Birmingham and possibly Selma or Montgomery too.
To read more about why I am hosting a separate group for 6th graders, click here.
As always, thank you Grace Church for your support and your prayers!
It’s a tough time to be young…
…even when you know that God is Good and Love Always Wins.
Sarah Christopher, Associate Lay Pastor