Jared Patrick Boyd - “Imaginative Prayer: You Can Be                                     a Guide to Your Child's Spiritual Formation"

 

Workshop description:

Through the practice of Imaginative Prayer you and your child can journey together through some of the most foundational and formational experiences in your life with God. The experience of God through Imaginative Prayer equips parents and leaders to pass on to children the practice of prayer in a very tangible way. This workshop will provide an overview of the origins of praying with your imagination, a discussion around why the experience of God is vital in the lives of young people, and practical tools to help equip parents and leader to start this work in the home right away.

BIO: Jared Patrick Boyd is a pastor, spiritual director, and founder of the Order of the Common Life, a missional monastic order for the 21st Century. He is author of Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide to Your Child’s Spiritual Formation (IVP 2017).

He and his wife have 4 girls and live in the west-side neighborhood of Franklinton in Columbus, OH.

jaredpatrickboyd.com - imaginativeprayer.com - Twitter: @boydjared Instagram: @jaredpatrickboyd

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                           Dana Kennamer & Suzetta Nutt -“Kids Today Just Can't...."                             Reframing our Posture and Practices as We Welcome                                       Children with Challenging Behavior"

Workshop description:

This workshop will explore ways to support children's positive behaviors starting from a pro-active and relational posture. Many in children's ministry have observed that the behaviors children are bringing into our contexts have changed significantly. Often, our previous practices no longer "work." Participants will explore how our posture toward children's behaviors can shape our responses to these changing behaviors. How do we see children? Theologically? Experientially? Emotionally? What does it mean for a practice to "work?" This interactive workshop will invite participants to reflect on our "posture" toward children and work together to identify possible practices that will support the children in their ministry contexts.

 

BIO: Dana Kennamer, Ph.D. serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services and the chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Abilene Christian University where she teaches courses in early childhood education.  Dana's publications include Along the Way: Conversations about Children & Faith, Let All the Children Come to Me: A Practical Guide Including Children with Disabilities In Your Church's Ministry and I Will Change Your Name: Messages from the Father to a Heart Broken by Divorce. Despite Dana’s busy life as an administrator and academic, when not in social distancing, you can find her on Sunday mornings  with her kindergarten and first grade friends at church who know her simply as "Teacher Dana."

 

Suzetta Nutt is the lead Children’s Minister at Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Listening to children while joining them on their spiritual journey is one of her passions, and she has served the children and families of Highland for more than 35 years.

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                          Mimi Larson  - “Engaging Children in Worship”

Workshop description:

Engaging children in worship means we must provide practical ways that children move from passive to active participants. How do we intentionally and meaningfully engage children as active participants in the intergenerational worshipping community? In this workshop we will explore how the ways in which children learn provide practical pathways for engaging them in either online or face-to-face worship with all ages. Participants will be equipped to take the next steps in encouraging children to move from passive observers to full participants within the worshipping community. 

BIO: Mimi Larson, PhD, is Visiting Professor of Christian Formation & Ministry at Wheaton College.  She also serves as Children’s Ministry Catalyzer with Faith Formation Ministries, a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. 

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                           Sarah Barnett - “Take, Bless, Break, and Give: A Four-   fold                             Experiential Process for Spiritual Formation and                                               Imaginative Engagement in Children’s Ministries”

 

Workshop description:

In this workshop we will explore experiential and imaginative processes that engage children, youth, and adults alike in the work of owning and articulating the fullness of their faith as a journey cycling through calling, trial, divine provision, and generosity.

We look at resources showing how this four-fold process can be implemented in a variety of settings including children’s church, a 60-minute classroom setting, and a weeklong camp or vacation bible school. Even if a ministry is already using a stand alone curriculum, building in time for this four-fold process will enhance and deepen discipleship. Creating space for life-giving storytelling and relationship building is crucial. It’s a key protective factor in resiliency research. Participants will learn how to engage deeply with the children in their midst as the first priority in their ministries.

BIO: Sarah Barnett is the Missioner for Children, Youth, and Camp on the Bishop’s staff of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. She convenes and supports children’s and youth ministry leaders across the state, as well as championing youth leaders on ECMN’s youth commission. In this role she also plans and oversees five statewide retreat programs and six summer camps serving over 600 young people and their families from 42 different parishes. Many of these programs she helped found and design during her previous roles as the Faith Formation Director at three Episcopal faith communities. She has a strong background in small and large ministry designs, including community building, volunteer training, fundraising, and intergenerational and culturally inclusive ministry. Sarah holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Christian Formation and Ministry both from Wheaton College. She is also currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in the Christian Spirituality cohort. At home Sarah adores her three elementary aged children, and they both inspire and join in for all the adventures you see at www.ecmnyouth.org.  

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                           Natalie Frisk - “A Holy Shift: From Morality-Centered                                       to Jesus-Centered Teaching”

Workshop description:

While morality is an important aspect of our teachings, this workshop focuses on how Jesus should be the centre of our teaching, and making this shift is the best way to serve our children.

For decades within the realm of children's Sunday school curriculum, the teaching has been morality-based. Each story taught to children is often turned into a personal morality lesson where the child is encouraged to be like that biblical hero. While morality is an important aspect of our teachings, it is certainly not meant to be the focus. Jesus should be the centre of our teaching, and making this shift is the best way to serve our children.

BIO: Natalie Frisk is curriculum pastor at The Meeting House - a multisite church near Toronto, Canada. She is author of Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids. Frisk has a Masters in Theological Studies from McMaster Divinity College, and is presently working on her doctorate in practical theology with an emphasis on the spiritual experience of children. She is a member of the Jesus Collective Theology Circle as well as the children's director for the Mennonite World Conference 2022. She is married to Sam and mom to Erin.

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                            Kevin Johnson - "Neighborly Advice: Applying a                                              Mr. Roger's Neighborhood approach to an                                                        Intergenerational Audience"

Workshop description:

Through discussion of effective preaching/communication techniques, understanding life span growth, and use of current technology; participants will learn how to apply a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood approach to an intergenerational audience. “Neighborly Advice” will explore key components gained from the approach of Mr. Rogers, American children’s television pioneer and ordained minister. This workshop will examine theological understanding, approach to human development, preaching/communication, and the use of technology to effectively reach today’s post-modern congregation.  We will discuss and implement Rogers’ techniques of reframing phrases to make them better understood. Mr. Rogers suggested that we, “listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.” Participants will gain an understanding of a communication approach that is rooted in love for neighbor and reaches diverse intergenerational faith communities.

BIO: Kevin Johnson is the Director, Children’s Ministries for Congregational Vitality & Intentional Discipleship at Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Kevin’s hero Fred Rogers suggests that we, “think of the children first.” This quote defines Rev. Kev’s approach to ministry and application to an intergenerational community of faith. Kevin, an ordained elder of the Kentucky Annual Conference, has over fifteen years of ministry experience in which he has thought of the children first. He holds a MDiv from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is a current DMin student at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK. He is married to Jennifer and the proud parent of three children.

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                            Lacy Finn Borgo - “Accompanying Children & Teens                                        Through Loss”

Workshop description:

How do we accompany children and teens in seasons of loss? We will learn the various expressions that grief takes and how to come alongside children and teens in their loss. Together we will engage practices that create space to process grief and practices that can cultivate resiliency. We will also explore the ways that grief stirs up existential questions and how to bring those questions into God’s loving, welcoming presence.

BIO: Lacy Finn Borgo holds a doctor of ministry degree in leadership and spiritual formation and a certificate in spiritual direction from Portland Seminary, where she also teaches classes on spiritual direction and spiritual formation. In addition to her practice with adults, she provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, a transitional housing facility for homeless families. Lacy also serves on the Renovaré US ministry team. She lives in Montrose, Colorado, with her family and assorted animals.

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                             Robert and Laura Keeley - “The Lord is my shepherd:                                       Helping children and teens read the Psalms”

Workshop description:

The Psalms are emotionally mature literature but they contain riches that children and teens can access too. In this workshop we will look at ways to help us help young people appreciate the Psalms more. We will consider different ways to approach a Psalm for children of different ages and will pay special attention to Psalms of lament.

 

BIO: Robert Keeley is Professor of Education at Calvin University and Visiting Professor of Discipleship and Faith Formation at Calvin Theological Seminary. Laura Keeley is a Regional Catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and Director of Children’s Ministries at 14th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, MI. The have written a number of things separately and together including the books Psalms for Families (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2013) and Dear Parent (Faith Alive, 2019).

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Robin Turner - “Cultivating Curiosity: Water with Wonder and Grow Biblical Literacy”

 

Workshop description:

By giving children developmentally-appropriate tools to explore answers to the questions that naturally arise during wonder-based approaches for children's lessons, leaders can create environments that encourage both spiritual formation and biblical literacy. Learn how to create contexts that engage children's curiosity with resources like Bibles, maps, diagrams, illustrated books and LEGO bricks to cultivate a desire to walk with God and engage Scripture.

BIO: Robin Turner currently serves as Director of Children and Family Ministries at St. Augustine's Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas. She also maintains www.worshipwithchildren.com, a church resourcing website. Robin has her DMin in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary and her MA in Christian Formation and Ministry from Wheaton College Graduate School. 

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Karen Hammond & Julie Emery - “Do  A New Thing! Explore Ways to Imagine New Paths for Faith Formation”

 

Workshop description: Even before CoVid, many noticed that the ways that we shaped faith formation in the past aren’t working any more. And now in a virtual world we have no road map at all. How do we foster faith formation today? This workshop will not provide a perfect solution. But it will inspire participants to be open to trying new things and will help them explore ways to find their "new thing". Participants will develop a working knowledge of what can happen when there is openness to trying something new and will leave with enthusiasm to rethink faith formation in their own context.

                                           BIO:  Rev Julie Emery is the Minister/Head of Staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West                                                                Hartford, CT.   She has a passion for inclusive worship and preaching and a heart for social justice.   She                                                  approaches all of these areas with great creativity in her leadership.  Julie is a proud graduate of the                                                        University of Michigan and received a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.  She has served congregations in New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut and has also served as a chaplain for Hospice Care.

Karen Hammond is the Director of Faith Formation at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, CT.  Her background in elementary education and love for children has grown into a passion for intergenerational faith formation.  She loves talking with others to share ideas about how to best help the church intersect with people’s lives.

 

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Kathy Pittenger - “Children's Ministry in a Post-COVID World” 

Workshop description:

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted ministry in profound ways - this workshop will explore why and how children’s ministry will be different, possibilities for hybrid ministry (without burn-out), and creative “future-ing.” Children’s Ministry has been deeply impacted by Covid-19. In this workshop, we will discuss how building relationships with children and families is important while bridging into the post-Covid world, explore why and how children’s ministry will be different moving forward, and possibilities for hybrid ministry (without burn-out). In addition, we will consider what we have learned during the pandemic and consider creative “future-ing.” We will also have time for Q&A and sharing ideas.

BIO: Rev. Kathy Pittenger is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Children’s Initiatives Coordinator for the Michigan Conference. Kathy earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Ministries from Malone University. She has over 20 years of ministry experience including in the local church. Kathy’s ministry focus is to encourage, equip, empower, and engage with leaders in children’s ministry and bring awareness, advocacy and action to childhood justice issues. Kathy, her husband, Rich, and their two sons, live near Lansing, MI.

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                            Anthony Peterson - “Listening to Children on Race:                                          Telling Stories.”

 

Workshop description:

 Listening to children serves as a catalyst for discussing race. One challenge of dealing with race in the United States is the question of how to discuss race issues with children. It turns out that young people might actually be our spiritual guides in navigating race. For many reasons Americans resist talking about race, especially in our personal lives. But recent history has demonstrated the great we need for those personal conversations. This workshop, born out of listening to children, demonstrates an approach to race dialogue that begins with storytelling and listening. An introduction to the workshop can be seen at https://youtu.be/u5GCetbP7Fg.

BIO:

Anthony has lived, studied, written about, and taught about cultural, racial and other diversity realities throughout his life.

He has designed and facilitated diversity workshops since 2004. He has led workshops in corporate, academic, and community settings. His degrees in psychology (B.A., Willamette University) and Christian education (M.A., Scarritt Graduate School) inform his perspective on diversity and inclusion. Anthony’s diversity discussions took a personal turn in 2014, when he began documenting conversations with his white grandchildren regarding race. His relevant TEDx talk can be accessed at https://youtu.be/u5GCetbP7Fg. He hopes that those conversations serve as an invitation for others to tell their own racial stories.

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Carie Whittaker - “Teaching Emotions to Children as a Healthy Spiritual Practice”

 

Workshop description:

Jesus experienced the four big emotions: glad, mad, sad, and scared during his time on earth. Teaching children about emotional care and health in a spiritual context through the life of Jesus will equip them to be spiritually whole and encourage them to pursue spiritual health and wellbeing as part of their faith journey. Emotions are normal, natural, and healthy and are not something that should be hidden or feared. Processing tools and  healthy spiritual/emotional practices can help kids handle the feelings they feel and explore them safely inside the church instead of separate from it.

BIO: Carie Whittaker  (BA in Christian Education from Harding University) is a children’s minister at East Cobb Church of Christ in Marietta, Ga and has worked in children's ministry for the past ten years. She has lived in the Atlanta area for almost 3 years and is a second year M.Div. student at McAfee School of Theology. In her free time, she is raising her 14-year-old niece and exploring the great state of Georgia.

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                            Catherine Maresca - “Mining for God in the Hebrew                                        Scriptures”

Workshop description: Studying foundational texts of our faith with children benefits from a relationship with Jesus, a cultural understanding of the context and literature of the Hebrew Scriptures, and openness to the curiosity and wisdom of the children.

The violence of the Ancient Near East can hide the nonviolent, creative justice of God revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. Studying foundational texts of our faith with children benefits from a relationship with Jesus, a cultural understanding of the context and literature of the Hebrew Scriptures, and openness to the curiosity and wisdom of the children.

BIO: Catherine Maresca is the director of Center for Children and Theology. 

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Elaine Austin & Sally Selzer - “Worshipping God with Children”

 

Workshop description:

Studying foundational texts of our faith with children benefits from a relationship with Jesus, a cultural understanding of the context and literature of the Hebrew Scriptures, and openness to the curiosity and wisdom of the children. Worship & Wonder is an amazing program that allows children to worship God, in a controlled yet open environment.  It is based on the book, Young Children & Worship by Sonya Stewart and Jerome Berryman.  The Bible stories are told using figures allowing the children to enter the story wherever they are on their spiritual journey.  Children are actually born with a relationship with God.  It is our responsibility to offer them a sacred and structured environment in which to worship and to grow.  This program is based on the belief, that children learn about God while being in the presence of God.

 

BIO: Elaine Austin is a minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving in Boones Mill, VA.  The DOC Church uses this ecumenical  program based on the book, Young Children & Worship, by Jerome Berryman and Sonja Stewart.  She has been a trainer for 19 years, traveling to a number of states to train churches on how to use this program in their setting.   

 

Sally Selzer is the owner of Worship Woodworks who make the story figures and many resources for this program. She has been working with this ministry for 26 years.

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