by Paula Velez
This past year of pandemic upheaval has also been an opportunity for me to pause and reflect on what is most needed for our children’s ministry. The Lord brought to my attention the ministry of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) and I’ve become convinced that this approach would be a very good fit for the families of both our English and Spanish speaking congregations. When everything started shutting down last spring and there was a huge push to make all things virtual, I started to ask myself if going virtual was what our children needed. I questioned the wisdom of making everything virtual, especially for our youngest members who developmentally are best able to engage relationally and concretely. Even as I looked at the needs of my older children, I realized we are ALL being inundated with information and technology and have to work much harder at slowing down, creating space, and simply being present in the moment. So, I began to research ways that we could bridge the virtual-sacramental gap for children and their families. Because of this I started looking for other options and found myself looking again at Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I had looked at CGS in the past when others had brought it to my attention (Jeanine Werner, Beth Conkle), but each time it just didn’t seem to be possible.
I have been involved in children’s ministry as a leader, teacher and parent for over 30 years. In more recent years as I have tried to find resources and materials to fit the needs of our children, I have noticed a few things about Sunday School curricula and materials:
by Paula Velez
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat
falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24
Lately, I have found myself needing more time outdoors to rest and reset during this stressful season. Because of this need, I got my husband to agree to a plan for a new raised garden bed, which somehow turned into 8! And now a lovely kitchen garden is beginning to take shape under my kitchen window.
Through the process of preparing soil, planting seeds or seedlings, I have been reminded of how God often works beneath the surface before we ever see the fruit of his efforts; and how Jesus so often used the example of sowing and seeds to teach us about living in his Kingdom. When I plant a seed or even a dead looking dormant plant, I find myself thinking there is no way something is going to grow from this; there is no way fruit, or veggies or beautiful flowers will come from this tiny seed or “dead” stick I just put in the ground.
by Jeanine Werner
Another season of Lent will soon be behind us. We are rapidly approaching Holy Week. Does it ever remind you of Christian Bootcamp? Do you ever think, “ I’ve really got to build up my strength to do this thing?” It’s daunting, especially when you think of the services and liturgy for the three days beginning on Maundy Thursday at sunset, continuing through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and concluding with the Easter Vigil sometime after sunset on Saturday. These three days constitute the Triduum, the traditional days of common prayer, fasting, worship, and expectation as we approach our Savior’s joyous resurrection on Sunday. Why would we even keep such a demanding tradition in our modern times? After all, we’ve got lots of stuff to do.
by Rachel Cowart
Technology and I have never been best friends. I am one of the unfortunate generations for whom the most recent technological advances came along just late enough for them to feel unnatural. I actually had a moment of absurd panic when this document window disappeared for no apparent reason. Fortunately for me, I married well and my tech-savvy husband retrieved it in under ten seconds. You can imagine my chagrin as I put in my airpods, press play on my new favorite podcast, and start breakfast for the sixty-fifth day in a row. I would blame my newfound reliance on technology on COVID, but it was actually the birth of my third child that pushed me into an unforeseen alliance with technology. I have trouble finding time to take a shower let alone pick up a Bible, and with three kids under the age of five a Bible is what I found I needed the most.
Sunday Worship Location
Join us for Sunday worship at 1:30pm at Campus Bible Church. We welcome you in person or on livestream.
222 East Fountain Way
Fresno, CA 93704