By Alison Noll
2018 has been off to a great start for the Youth Group! Here are some highlights:
Like the adults, we have been exploring the topic “When Walls Come Down.” The last two weeks we have had exciting discussions about God’s movement in the Bible to break down walls—from Jesus’ baptism, to the tearing of the temple curtain, to the gift of the Holy Spirit to all people.
The youth were particularly excited to learn and start using a new Greek vocabulary word—schizo, meaning to cleave or to split—which appears in both the story of Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:9-11) and the tearing of the curtain in the temple (Mark 15:37-38). When Jesus was baptized, the heavens were torn apart and the Spirit descended like a dove. When Jesus was on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two and God’s spirit rushed out into the world.
One youth exclaimed, “When the sky breaks open the wall between God and the people is torn down!” When discussing the layout of the temple and its many walls (between God and the people, between men and women, between Jews and Gentiles) there were many exclamations of, “That’s not fair!” And when we began talking about the Holy Spirit spreading to all people, not just Jewish prophets and kings, the youth immediately made connections to the Cornelius story they had heard before in RiverKids (Acts 10).
We have also been enjoying some fun new games this year! At RiverKids/Youth we believe that fun is the love language of children. This seems to be especially true for youth! So, every week at the Youth Group, we make it a point to play an organized game before moving into our discussion time. When we play together, I see the youth visibly relax and begin to open themselves up to connection. The youth love this special time and regularly rush into the Gym on Sunday mornings asking questions like: “What’s the game today?” “Is it a running game or a sitting game?” “Have we played it before?” Last week we tried out a new game called Seated Basketball!
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions/comments/concerns at email@example.com.
Please RSVP for this very important get-together for all members, which will take place on 1/28 @1PM (after the Second Service). We'll bring in lunch and talk about the coming year and some significant developments that you'll want to know.
During the Meeting:
Kids will have a movie time in the 2nd Floor Auditorium and childcare will be provided for infants and toddlers. Youth can join the movie time or play downstairs in the Gym. (Please Note: there will not be adult supervision in the Gym.)
During the Second Service:
We will also have childcare open during the Second Service for your convenience.
Please click here to RSVP on behalf of your kids/youth so we can prepare accordingly. Thank you!
At the River, every first Sunday of the month is a Family Lunch. Families are invited to the 2nd Floor Auditorium after the First Service to connect with each other over pizza.
Our next Lunch is on Sunday, February 4 and it will be our Asha Project Day. Asha is a non-profit organization that serves the slum communities of New Delhi. What they do to serve and transform the lives of the children and the families in slum communities is amazing and beautiful (please watch this short video to get a glimpse).
The River has a close partnership and friendship with Asha. We have been sending teams over there for the last four years or so and our next team is scheduled to leave on February 11. I am particularly excited about this trip because we will be initiating a special effort to connect Asha children and the children and youth at the River.
At the family lunch on February 4, we will hear from those who’ve spent time at Asha and will do a special project that will introduce us to the children at Asha. The hope is that we will establish regular communication with them and get to know the individual kids.
So please join us at the Family Lunch, to hear more about Asha and how to be part of this new friendship! Click here to RSVP.
By Caroline Park
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good, restful Christmas break.
2018 is here and RiverKids and RiverYouth are back in session. Last Sunday (1/7), we started a new series called “When Walls Come Down” for the Elementary School Class and Youth Group, as well as the main service.
During this series, we want to give the kids an understanding of God’s movement in history toward connection and inclusion. Paul said in Galatians 3:28, "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This wall-less world has always been God’s reality. Though walls still exist in our cultures in various forms, God is working in our world, bringing down the walls. The arc of God’s redemptive story moves toward radical inclusion, toward all things in connection with one another, and toward all of us belonging in the big universe of God’s love and grace.
This parable of a sort, which I wrote combining three different parables in the Bible (and which we shared with the Elementary School kids last Sunday), might tell this story and bring hope and light to our children’s vision:
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed planted in this world.
Though it is small it grows and grows
into a big plant.
Though we do not understand how, it grows and flowers.
Birds come and make nests in it.
It provides shelter and food to many.
It produces many more seeds,
which in turn
find their own places to be planted.
In the fields and on the street,
inside and outside of a church yard.
And they grow and they spread
until they fill the whole world.
Until the glory of God fills the earth.
(Matthew 13:31-32, 13:33; Mark 4:26-29)
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions/concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.