On this cool, fall Tuesday, I have been reflecting on giving thanks. One of our team members shared with me a Thanksgiving Story video created by The GO Project. It tells the Thanksgiving story by shedding light on the violence and oppression since settler arrival on Turtle Island. It is important to be thankful for things in our lives for which we are grateful AND seek change for present and future relationships on this land. You can share this video with the families you lead as we continue the walk the path of truth and reconciliation.
In reflecting on giving thanks, I give thanks for each of you in your leadership with children, youth and families. In this year and half, you have worked harder and longer than we have ever imagined. You have gone deep into our creativity and drawn on our faith. Thank you. I give thanks to God for your commitment to young people and their families. You are a gift to this United Church of ours, and we are blessed because of your work in ministry. I hope that you have had time to notice the places in your ministry and lives that fill you up with gratitude and sustain you for this ministry.
Last week the First Third Ministry regional staff team held our 4-day strategic planning retreat. I am grateful for the time we had together to focus on our vision, team building and planning for 2022. I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing group of people focused on first third ministry.
Fall Opportunities for First Third Ministry Leaders, and your congregations!
Grace and Peace to you,
Rev Mary Nichol
Regional Minister Children & Families
And just like that, it's Fall again - back to "Back to School" business! I hope you are settling in and doing well, whether that means soaking up the last rays of summer sun or digging out your coziest sweaters from the closet.
As we round the corner on the last days of September, we look ahead to Orange Shirt Day and what will be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I invite you to notice what is happening in your local communities – how are others reflecting and engaging with reconciliation at work, school, and in your neighborhood? (Pssst... if you're not sure what to do once you've got your Orange Shirt on, check out this blog post for some great ideas!)
Here at First Third Ministry, we have been getting excited about the upcoming events this fall!
FaithQuest, a Confirmation Journey, begins THIS WEEKEND. FaithQuest is comprised of five Online Sessions and an in-person Confirmation Retreat in the New Year. Youth ages 13-17 can expect progressive, liberal, virtually friendly connections with videos, activities, and a workbook. We're exploring questions like: Who am I? Who is God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Spirit? Who are we? What are we called to do? Where do we go from here? The first free, online session is this Sunday, Sept. 26th at 6:30PM. Get your zoom link (and more details) NOW!
And coming up in November... the Imagine Family Retreat at Camp Fircom! We are so excited to welcome families to join us Nov. 5-7 for a weekend of faith and (COVID-safe) fun on Gambier Island. We hope to see you there!
First Third Ministry Animator
I have been at a total loss of what to write to you! It feels truly like the turmoil and anxiety of this pandemic is escalating again and the response of faith communities and people in church leadership is to pivot…again! What do I say to that that hasn’t been said before or sounds too trite?
The regional council First Third Ministry team sees you working so hard to ensure the young people and their families in your community of faith feels connected and supported and loved. We see your steadying faithfulness and commitment to the church. We pray that you take care of yourself, finding times amid this chaos for rest and renewal. We pray that you feel held and encouraged in the presence of Love.
Take a look at what is being offered to support you and your loved ones during this fall season, details are below in this newsletter!
Note: The First Third Ministry office is closed until September 13th.