Last week was not, in my book, a good week.
After the tension leading to this hugely important election, I will share that I, at least, did not see the ending I was expecting. It led to the Worst Birthday Ever and then, the reality began to really set in.
But along with that came pride in what I saw from this congregation’s children and youth. We produced a set of materials (What Do I say to My Kids After the Election?) which – despite its name – has resources for people of all ages in it. We provided information to classroom teachers and they used it to have really meaningful conversations with children in their classes (there are times when you dump the curriculum and deal with current events; this was one of those times).
Sunday night most of the FUUY advisors and 30 youth gathered to process the election with a great deal of emotion and resolve to contribute to change going forward. One FUUY alum, an individual in the middle of gender- and identity-questioning showed up as well, seeking safe harbor from the storm of rhetoric and fear and hate that is swirling Out There. The advisors were great and so were the youth.
We walk this road together, exploring options and alternatives to help build the world we dream of. I want to thank the Youth Advisory Committee members (12th graders) for their leadership and for supporting their peers. I want to thank Brian Sewell, our Youth Coordinator, for his work in teaming with YAC to prepare for the discussions on Sunday. I want to thank Howie Bernstein, Cara Ehlenfelt (who couldn’t be there Sunday), Jody Gray-Linden, Herman Marshall, and Liana Raberg, for showing up and listening carefully.
It’s not over, of course: the concerns, the explorations of what to do, the learning, will all go on. A colleague of mine said of her congregation, “This church is all about faith development – that is what we do. All the time. Everywhere.” There’s no better description of a gathered spiritual community than this.
And so I hope that, in this uncertain time, we at Follen are also “all about faith development” – through learning, discussions, action, music, the spoken word – as we journey to the next place in this time of transition.
Interim Director of Religious Education