Summer 2020. It was a bit different than any other summer I have ever experienced before. Okay, let’s be real…. It was A LOT different than any other summer I had experienced before. Ever. Summer vacations, traveling, beaches, and barbeques…. OH BBQS!!! The ones with hot dogs and brats, and potato salad and grape salad… ALL THE SALADS!!! I missed those most of all! And then add on top of all the salad disappointment, we weren’t able to be in our church building worshipping with each other and building our community of faith. This summer has felt like something out of the Twilight Zone for sure.
Roll back for a moment to the beginning of summer. Susie and I were trying to figure out how we could stay connected and still help form faith for our elementary, middle, and high school students – enter summer youth group. It was set up every other week on a Thursday afternoon to whomever could make it between the ages of 4th and 8th grade. Our intent was simple – build community. The one catch of course was that we still could not meet in person; we had to do the meetings via zoom. Susie and I were unsure about how this would go, but we wanted to give it a try.
I am here to tell you that the 6 sessions that we had throughout the summer were some of the best, most Spirit lead meetings I have ever experienced. We didn’t do anything fancy. We started with highs and lows, and then we played games like Scattergories and Hangman. We NEVER ran out of things to talk about.
In the last 2 weeks, we began a project – a puppet ministry – for our child friendly service that ran on August 30th. We asked the students to come to our youth group with supplies to make sock puppets. Can I just tell you all how much FUN making sock puppets via zoom can be!? These students had some of the most creative and hilarious sock puppets. They quickly came up with names and back stories for each of their puppets that would bring the word of God to the congregation. Once the puppets were done, it was time to record the various parts of worship. The kids did NOT let us down! They rose to the challenge of filling in the various liturgies and read each and every detail with pride and excitement. The Holy Spirit came to our meetings and facilitated some awesome conversation through the weeks of summer. But I saw God’s love truly come to life in the students as they worked diligently on their puppets and presenting worship to those in the community at CtK.
Through summer youth group, I have learned that some of us are lamenting all of the things we didn’t get to do this summer, or all of the salads we didn’t get to eat. But at the end of the day we can remember to focus on what is right in front of us; that God’s love is all around us and coming to life within us and in those around us – even in unexpected places like sock puppets!
I am thankful for the reminder that God is here with us in the struggles and in the laments. But I am encouraged to remember that God is with us always in the laughs, the celebrations, and in the every day tasks as well! Thanks be to God for puppets and for ministries that have come out of summer 2020.
Director of Faith Formation: Confirmation & High School
Please enjoy this short and fun blooper reel from our time recording together!