I’m usually fairly easy going about change. It’s not that I like it, but so little in my life has been solid and consistent that I’ve never had the chance to formulate much of an opinion about change.
But changes in relationships are always hard. And they’re especially hard for children and those who live and work with them.
It is with this truth that I write this Ministry Update for Christian Education. There have been quite a few changes in Children’s Ministry this past year, and in this month in particular. Almost a year ago now, we accepted the resignation of Rebecca Schmidt as Children’s Ministry Coordinator and welcomed Leslie Riley as Interim Children’s Ministry Coordinator. Leslie may apply for the permanent position, but working for the church and community you’re a part of has its costs and she’s still thinking it over. Having a year-long Interim has been challenging, and it has revealed some important areas for program growth and illuminated how we can deepen our work with children as a whole church.
As I was returning from Family Leave with Baby D, it became clear that the recent abundance of babies required a temporary expansion of our Childcare Team on Sunday mornings. We are incredibly grateful that Lisa Coleman has stepped in to support our babies and their families in making full participation in Sunday morning community possible. We don’t really anticipate two more sets of twins and more staff babies any time soon, so this position remains necessary but temporary as these babies grow into other classes. Yet another way change is the constant.
Earlier this spring, many have noticed that our stalwart, spectacular and incredibly patient “Teacher Holly” has been not been with us. Thankfully, her hip replacement is done and she is healing well. We look forward to her return later this month.
Last to note–but definitely not least—many have heard or already been a part of saying goodbye to Theresa Fjermedal and her girls as they move to Syracuse to be closer to their family there. What you may not have fully realized is what an enormous impact this will have on our toddlers and preschoolers and their families. Theresa and her girls have been pillars of support for this programming and are often go-to folks for other childcare support beyond Sunday mornings. We screen and pay and support our childcare workers of these youngest ages because we know that staffing rooms full of ever-changing volunteers for babies and toddlers who are just beginning to form relationships of trust is just not faithful for their mental, emotional and spiritual health. And Theresa has been a faithful presence for these children for many years now. She will be greatly missed.
Thankfully, Vanessa Lovejoy-Guron has already stepped forward to be an Interim Childcare provider in Theresa’s stead as it will be helpful to have a new Director of Children’s Ministry participate in the hiring of a permanent replacement. Many of our kids already know Vanessa from church and Seabeck so this will help some.
This is a lot of change and turbulence. And we know that the thing that makes change hardest is when we’ve loved well and done good work making attachments. But we can trust in our ability to do healthy grieving. And we can trust that love and attachment will be there for us again. Finally, we know and are comforted by the fact that Jesus is in the boat with us.