By Keira Fuener, Gathering Children's Coordinator
This will be the first year that Children’s Programming will be offered as part of Gathering 2019: Diocesan Conference & 154th Convention.
It is God’s playfulness at work, that in preparing this inaugural program, our theme is “No longer strangers.” How wonderful to have a biblical vision of the power of the Spirit to unify all believers, as we add children to this time of fellowship. It is the desire of our whole children’s programming planning team to reveal to the children the many people, places, and parishes that make up our christian community. Not only do we recognize each other as “fellow citizens”, but our hope is that the Spirit will strengthen each child’s conviction that they are also full “members of the household of God.” We believe that God’s Spirit is at work in children already, and want to value the gifts that they bring to our worship, prayer, and service together.
Children’s programming will be offered during the opening Eucharist on Friday from 4:30-7:30pm, with optional childcare from 7:30-8:30pm for those parents attending dinner on Friday night, and Saturday from 8:45am-3:00 pm. Using fun visuals to “find our place in the city” and large group games, we will have opportunities for building friendships and exploring what the household of God is like. We will be learning about the building blocks of the church, the apostles and saints, and how we are also being built together into a dwelling place for God!
In addition to the fun and fellowship, we will have intentional opportunities for creative prayer using art and movement, quiet reflection, and time for worship together in the St. Stephen’s Children’s Chapel. Saturday at Morning prayer, children will receive a blessing from the Bishop, and at Midday prayer, children and youth will lead the entire congregation in songs of worship and thanksgiving.
Similarly to the adult workshops, the children’s programming is for the strengthening of individual faith, celebrating God’s work in the church, and equipping children to live a life pleasing to the Lord. We want kids to take home a deeper understanding of their valued place in God’s household and a renewed desire to enter into the dynamic relationship God offers to us by his Spirit.
Families are welcome to register for Gathering 2019: Diocesan Conference & Convention today!