A Different Looking Summer

I don’t know about all of you but I expected my summer to look a little different than the one I am currently facing. This summer was going to be filled with trips and adventures, time with friends and family, and showing off our new home to everyone one we know.

This summer will also be different than the one I had envisioned for our children, youth and families at St. John’s. I had wild dreams of spending my summer throwing water balloons, painting birdhouses, walking around our neighborhood and truly spending quality time with our families. It was going to be the perfect summer. I had it all planned out, from the movies we would watch in the Holly Street Garden to the ice cream we would eat at Grand Ole Creamery.

Like many others I am mourning that loss. The loss of certainty and the loss of preconceived plans has been weighing on me especially as spring begins and the events written on my calendar begin to pass by.

However, I like to consider myself an optimist, a glass half full kind-of gal. So I am taking my disappointments and channeling them in to new and crazy ideas that truly wouldn’t work as well if we were all together. This summer will be full of challenges just as our spring was. Many of us have grown tired of the uncertainty that lies ahead, weary of staying at home, desperate for physical connection with others. Our Children, Youth and Family Ministry is going to attempt to use this time apart to truly connect. We have a chance this summer to go “Old School” and I’m going to take it.

If my grandmother taught me anything it is that nothing is better than a handwritten note. Putting pen or marker or crayon to paper and reaching out to others is a small and simple gesture that people hold on to. As John and I began to unpack our new house I found a box, a whole box, filled to the brim with hand written letters, notes and doodles from family and friends throughout the years. I’ve never been able to part with them, they are meaningful and when things are hard I routinely go back and read through them again and again.

Back to our summer plans – Letter writing. This is where we will start. Some of our OWLs have agreed to write to our parents and families, offering support and prayers as they keep their children at home with them this summer. Our children/youth will be writing/drawing back connecting with some members they have never met, but who share a common community in St. Johns. The children will also be writing/drawing to each other. Even over the last year I have seen so many wonderful relationships bloom within our Godly Play classrooms, our nursery and our youth group. It is important that we maintain those connections. Our love for each other is the reason we are keeping our distance.

If you would like to join us in our letter writing you are welcome. Old, young, new to the community, well known to the community, college student, young adult, retired, single, married, parent, childless, LGTQ+, it doesn’t matter. Join us as we stay connected this summer.

Blessings always,

Katie Madsen

For more information please reachout to Katie at [email protected] or 651-249-5290

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