This fall we bring back a new version of a program we haven’t done in a number of years. It’s called “Prayer Buddies.” We hope to share the vision for this program among our members and then invite our young people to find an adult they would like to ask to be their Prayer Buddy. We hope you will be asked. And we hope you will know what is involved in this fun, cross-generational prayer and support activity.
Here is a quick overview. Attend a “Prayer Buddy” gathering event (usually will happen during other congregational activities). Talk with your Buddy about your hopes and dreams, needs and how life is going. Do the Group activity; these will be things like: have a picture taken together, do an art project, make prayer buttons, etc. Then say “hi” each Sunday when you see each other in the halls or in Worship. Make plans to meet up at the next Prayer Buddy activity (if it fits in your schedule) and enjoy knowing, seeing and praying for each other over the year to come.
Nancy Shoemaker will visit Sunday School on October 2 and 16 to talk about the Prayer Buddy Program. Pastor will introduce the program during children’s time on Oct. 9 and 16. We will have a kick off activity on October 23 during the Gifted and Giving event during education hour that day. Be ready to say “yes,” when a young person comes to ask: “Will you be my prayer buddy?”
(The following is an article from an ELCA publication that will help fill out the vision for this program.)
Inter-generational activities lead to improved relationships.
In 2005, I sat in a workshop at a youth-specialties conference titled, “Mentoring Children and Youth.” I signed up because another person and I had attempted—and failed—to establish a mentoring program in our congregation.
The value of mentoring seemed obvious, and we had worked hard to kick it off. Several adults attended our two informational meetings. But nobody signed up. Typical responses were, “I’m not sure I’m the best role model,” “I’m not familiar enough with scripture,” “I’m not comfortable praying with a child,” and “I’m not comfortable being with a teenager.”
So in 2005 about 60 youth leaders and I eagerly waited for the instructor to bless us with his wisdom. He asked: “How many of you have worked at starting a mentoring program in your congregation?” About three-quarters of the hands went up. He continued: “How many of those programs succeeded?” Not one hand rose. The room erupted into uncomfortable, but relieved, laughter. The speaker then shared ideas of creating mentoring relationships without…well, mentoring! Among his ideas were ways to decentralize children’s, youth, and adult ministries. Instead he focused on inter-generational activities and fellowship.
The easily used ideas focused on creating inter-generational bonds. The one he felt strongest about was the Prayer Sponsor program. I came home excited and worked to begin it the following spring. We’re still going. It has created inter-generational bonds similar to what I felt as a child in my home church. Children at Union Avenue Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, know they are a part of a larger family. Adults in our congregation know their names and interests, and they love the kids.
A prayer sponsor differs from a prayer partner. To be a prayer partner means you regularly meet and pray. To be a prayer sponsor means you regularly pray for the child as though the child were your own. We ask for two other commitments. We ask sponsors to say “hi” to the child every Sunday to start building a relationship. And we ask that they attend the annual Prayer Sponsor Tea. In this event, sponsors meet with their prayer kids at church, sit together for the refreshments, and join in inter-generational activities.
We always have a “photo booth” where a photographer takes photos of each sponsor-child pair. Both get a print to hang on the refrigerator for the next year. We also ask parents to remind each child throughout the year that the sponsor is praying for the child. Parents are to remind children they may phone their sponsors whenever they have problems or worries.
What has happened since we started prayer sponsoring? Mentoring has happened. Kids pay more attention when their sponsor shares testimony, preaches, or is in the hospital. Sponsors pay more attention when “their kid” is in the Christmas play, a school play, or is sick. Because prayer sponsors typically keep the same prayer child year after year, meaningful relationships form. One younger child, facing minor surgery, reminded his mom they needed to phone the prayer sponsor. One kid picked up a love of photography from his sponsor, and they did a few photo projects for the congregation. The sponsor eventually gave the boy his old camera.
One child (since moved) lost his mom at a young age. His sponsor honored his birthday every year by cooking the favorite meal the boy’s mom used to prepare on his birthday. His older sister’s sponsor took her Christmas shopping every year. And one little girl, whose family left our church when an older sister wanted to go elsewhere with school friends, encouraged her family to return. The reason: the annual contact of her sponsor, who continued to pray for her and send birthday and Christmas cards.
I would encourage every congregation to be intentional about being inter-generational. Pairing each child with a sponsor has changed the spirit of our fellowship and created a generation of teenagers who know this church is theirs.
Good Sam Happenings
October 2 [Sunday Theme] “Journey Together: Hearing God Through Others” (Fall Focus continues)
October 2 Empty Nesters going to Old Stein Inn, Edgewater MD at 2 pm.
October 3 Daily Devotional Booklet for Journey to Generosity begins today. Pick up a copy at church, follow this link (Devotional) or watch your email daily.
October 9 [Sunday Theme] “Journey Together: Perceiving God in Circumstances” (Fall Focus continues)
October 16 [Sunday Theme] “Journey Together: Wrestling with God” (Fall Focus continues)
October 23 [Sunday Theme] “Consecration Sunday”
10 am All Congregation Education Event “Gifted and Giving: Celebration of our Blessings”
11 am One Blended Worship Service with guest leader Pastor Tom Knoll
12 Noon Celebration Luncheon – catered by Sunshine Catering
October 30 [Sunday Theme] “Journey Together: Walking with God” (Fall Focus concludes)
Sermon: “The Living Word”
Prayer: O God, through your Word, you spoke and the world began.Through the Scriptures you continue to speak to your people and draw new generations to your goodness.And through your Living Word, you come, sustain and redeem your chosen ones. Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word – Our Lord Jesus. Amen.
Every year we take some time in the fall to think about our giving and the role of stewardship in our faith journey. We invite our community to think about growing into their faith journeys through how they practice giving. We say, “Giving is an act of Worship.” This year our theme is “Journey to Generosity.” We learn generosity along our faith travels from God who gives faithfully and generously to all. We are all on the journey of learning to give up and let go of our self-centered and selfish attitudes and behaviors. Loving God is a great gift for turning away from selfishness to a better life, blessed and blessing others with what God has given us. Again, this year, we invite you to find your next step along the journey of faith called learning to give as God gives to us; freely, abundantly, with passion and joy and peace. We know you will be blessed in the process.
When will it happen?
Journey to Generosity begins in early October with a new Devotional Booklet that 21 of our members have participate in writing. These are our shared thoughts about what has been meaningful to us as we have journeyed to generosity. You will receive email notices about this program and email invitations to read these daily devotions. Consecration Sunday is the Climax of our Journey to Generosity Program. We will have one combined Worship service (11 am) that day with an all congregation learning event at 10 am called “Gifted and Giving.” Because, after all, we are a Gifted and Giving people. And you won’t want to miss the Celebration Luncheon on October 23rd at noon. It’s a catered meal to which you are invited to RSVP. There we will celebrate what we will give toward ministry and service in the coming year.
What you will notice!
No one will come and ask you for money or commitment. You will be informed, invited and encouraged to participate. There will be fun and community sharing about the things that happen to us along this kind of faith journey. How you engage this time, this journey and your growing in faith with God is up to you. But, we are praying that this conversation will be fruitful for you and for the community in which you have chosen to worship.
Ways to engage.
- Read the Journey to Generosity Devotional
- Begin thinking about what amount and focus your giving this year will have as a part of your faith journey
- RSVP (by October 19) for the Celebration Luncheon on October 23rd
- Come to the “All Congregation Learning Event” on October 23rd at 10 am called “Gifted and Giving.”
- Join us in Worship at our one (11 am) Consecration Sunday Worship Service
- Turn in an Estimate of Giving Card in Worship on Consecration Sunday (October 23) .
- Celebrate with us on October 23rd at lunch right after Worship. Hear what we will accomplish together this year.
Prayer: God among us, we gather in the name of your Son to learn love for one another. Keep our feet from evil paths. Turn ourminds to your wisdom and our hearts to the grace revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Sermon: “Be the Blessing”
Prayer: Direct us, O Lord God, in all our doings with your continual help, that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name; and finally, by your mercy, bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Sacks for the Homeless a success!!
On Sunday August 28th, we as a congregation and community came together and put together 25 Sacks for the Homeless consisting of items that the homeless need, and that we take for granted. We filled the bags with toiletries, snacks, writing materials, and other much needed items. We will be distributing these bags through our Good Sam, St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen and Three Oaks Center.
A Special Thanks to all who contributed and volunteered to put these bags together. We especially want to thank Thrivent Services, BB&T and Toyota of Southern Maryland for their support to our community.
Everyone pitches in to get the Job done!
Everyone seem’s to be having a great time
Everyone get’s involved! Yep that’s the one that goes in the Sack!
Here’s the run-down:
At 11:00 am:
- Jr. & Sr. High youth will meet with their teachers in the Disciples Den.
- Children 3 years old (& potty-trained) through 6th grade will meet in the Sanctuary. Parents are encouraged to stay as we gather for music and the presentation of a few awards.
- Accompany your child to their classroom for a meet & greet with your child’s teacher
- If your child is under 3 years old, please join us in the Sanctuary for the opening and then meet in the nursery. We are looking to start a nursery program during the Sunday School hour. We will see how we can work together to begin a program.
Parents, please be sure to fill out a Sunday School registration form for each of your children so we know of any allergies and how to contact you in case of an emergency. The forms can be found in the Fellowship Hall on the Sunday School bulletin board or see Mary Dickinson.
After spending many years teaching the Pre-K / Kindergarten class, we are very excited to have Mary serve as our Sunday School Superintendent now. If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Mary Dickinson at sundaysuper@goodsam.