How are the children? Kasserian ingera? All the children are well! Sapati ingera!

This traditional Masai greeting shows the priority placed by this tribe on the well-being and safety of the most vulnerable in society. If the children are well, there is peace and stability. By monitoring their children’s well-being, they can determine the health and prosperity of the future of the society. If the children are well, the whole society is well.  

So, how are the children?

They are back to in-person learning, which brings with it a myriad of opportunities and risks. They are playing sports and music and participating in theater and scouts and yes, involved again at church! They are back to having play dates and homecoming dances and trips to the apple orchard. They are also working to catch up from a year of on line learning; a year with minimal social experiences and limited, if any, time with extended family. They are “back at it” and overwhelmed and having new and wonderful in-person experiences – and they are exhausted.

Many parents are exhausted too. Those with young ones are still waiting for an opportunity to vaccinate kids under 12. Parents are also navigating childcare when their children have been exposed to COVID and are sent home from school. For the youngest, the pandemic is not over. So what are we doing as a church community for our children and their well-being?

Walk around the church, outside, on a Sunday morning and you will see adult leaders teaching and supporting kids in the safest way possible so they can continue to learn about God’s love for them. In church, listen to the voices of our children singing via videos made by Chad so that they can participate in the worship experience. Look for new acolytes in the coming weeks who have benefited from Rex’s, Elizabeth’s and Stephan’s tutelage. Listen for the conversations of the teens as they connect outside over food and community. During youth programs, dodge the giggling tweens as they race around the church learning that this place belongs as much to them as it does to any of us. In the short time that I have been the CYF Minister, I have seen St. John’s support and stand up for its children time and again.

Our children will be well as long as we continue to create space and opportunities for them to encounter God at St. John’s. Our children will be well as long as we continue to work to make this world a safe and peaceful place for them to live in.

Heather Miller, Minister for Children, Youth, and Families