The Inaugural General Meeting of the Pacific Mountain Regional Council (it used to be called BC Conference, or Conference), ran Thursday May 30 – Sunday June 2, 2019 at the Langley Events Centre, in Langley BC. We gathered with acknowledgement and respect, as guests on the traditional territory of the Kwantlen First Nation.
The Children and Youth Program at the General Meeting provided to opportunity for 18 children, 13 junior youth, and 6 youth ages 8-18 from across the region to gather, build a welcoming and inclusive community, practice being followers of Jesus, and learn about the governance of our United Church.
The leaders of these groups were so excited to continue the powerful tradition of making space for the youngest generations in our church.
Children’s Program – ‘For Such a Time as this’ Theme Exploration
The children’s group explored the story of Esther, in particular, the story of how she used her voice and had the support of those around her to speak up for Jews and against Hammon’s plan.
We first explored how the church tells time using the godly play story of ‘The Circle of the Church Year’
Each year, Christians move through a circle of memory
and expectation to open themselves to the elusive presence of God.
There are three great times in the Church year: Christmas… Easter…and Pentecost. Each of these is a great mystery, but people can walk right through these mysteries each year, and not even know they’re there.
We need time to get ready to come close to these mysteries. There are three times for getting ready. The time for getting ready to come close to the mystery of Christmas is called “Advent.” It is four weeks long.
The time for getting ready to come close to the mystery of Easter is called “Lent”. It is six weeks long, even greater than the time for getting ready to come close to the mystery of Christmas.
Easter is so great that it keeps on going. You can’t keep it in one Sunday. It overflows and goes on for six more Sundays.
The time for Easter is also a time for getting ready to come close to the mystery of Pentecost. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down. The Church was born. The Apostles glowed with the power of the Holy Spirit. They were more alive than they had ever been before. That’s why the color of Pentecost is red like fire. Look at all of the great green Sundays of the year some come between Christmas and the beginning of Lent. The rest come after Pentecost and before Advent.
It is all here. Everything we need. For every beginning there is an ending, and for every ending there is a beginning. It goes on and on, forever and ever.
We wondered about our favourite colors, what colours we thought were the most important, what time in the Church we like the most and what we think is the most important time
1. We explored the idea of chronological time.
A visual timeline was created of what has happened in the world since the beginning of time.
Images were used to discuss and move around on the timeline to finally decide on what ordered they happened.
2. What time is it in the world today?
In small groups the children discussed what is going on today in the world. They looked through magazines and cut out pictures to help create a collage of images describing our world today. Topics discussed were climate, school, food, politics, social media, bullying, and action groups.
3. Story of Esther (Festival of Purim)
In order to explore ‘for such a time as this’ the leaders chose to explore the story of Esther, who she was and how she spoke up and used her voice. The children watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYGqOMe-DqQ many times.
- What happened in the story?
- Who are the people and what did they do/not do?
- We explored the qualities and characteristics of the main characters
- How can you / your church be like Esther, Mordecai, the supporting team or the King
In small groups, the children shared stories and images about important events, practices and/or rituals within their community of faith.
These images and words describing their stories were put around the images of what is going on in the world today. Time was taken to notice any connections between what is going on in the world and what communities of faith are doing.
After learning about and unpacking the story of Esther here are the words gathered to also describe the world:
Kind, Proud, Honest, Be less stubborn, Brave, Powerful, Determined, Wise, Be less self-centered, Enthusiastic, Mean, Supportive, Fierce, Happy & Scared
Stories and images children brought with them to share.
These are events, practices, rituals that are meaningful and important to the children and happen within their community of faith:
Community dinner, Labyrinth, Pumpkin carving, Family Potluck and movie, Kids summer camp, Summer BBQ, Nautical Day, Easter Sunrise on the beach, Communion
Question to explore:
What else could our community of faith be doing in response to or support what is going on in the world?
The children at Eagles Acres Dairy Farm enjoying ice cream.