Children and Youth Formation during Lent

By Lucas Kulhanek-Arenas

As we immerse ourselves into Lent, our children and youth ministry programming shifts focus.

Normally during this season, we are called to give something up as a reflection of our penitence to Christ and remembering Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert.

I would like to encourage an alternative way of observing Lent, taking on a new practice to enrich your faith. Our children and youth ministries will be taking on new observances by serving Christ in others through action and live into our identity as members of the Jesus movement.

Each Sunday morning, children and youth are invited to join us for pretzel making at 9 am. I’m currently looking for volunteers to assist with the program since I will be busy at the 9 am Family Service. Making pretzels is a great fellowship activity and way for us to raise money for donation to Episcopal Migration Ministries – an organization that works with “affiliate partners to provide refugees with the information and services they require to thrive in their new communities.”

Children’s Illustrated Ministries: A Family Journey Through Lent is a resource filled with devotionals, activity sheets and coloring pages for families to use together through Lent. This packet has seven weeks of family devotions that are simple, but meaningful. The seven devotions are based on Gospel readings for the lectionary. Each devotion includes a brief reflection, discussion questions, an activity, and a prayer for each week. They will be available shortly. Please contact Lucas if you’re interested in a copy. You can also find them on the little table as you exit the Welcome Center into the hallway of Jewett House.

During Lent, St. John’s Youth Group will focus on being a follower of Jesus and serving Christ through others.

One of the ways in which we will serve will include an evening when we will go to Cup of Cool Water to learn about the organization and assist at the facility. This organization focuses on “walk[ing] alongside youth who are homeless. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, [they] build healthy relationships, provide services, and disciple street youth. [Cup] provide[s] a safe, peaceful space where youth can experience a respite from street culture.”

Volunteering at this organization is one of the many ways in which we can give back to our greater Spokane community.

Also during Lent, we will gather at West Central Episcopal Mission (which serves those in need in the West Central neighborhood) to serve. We will be guided in cleaning the facilities and serving the organization in any way they need assistance. This may occur on a Sunday instead of a Wednesday evening.

Young Eagles will also have the opportunity to serve at the Cathedral and potentially at other organizations such as West Central Episcopal Mission. Instilling service learning in our youngest members prepares them for a life of thoughtful inquiry and encountering God in hands-on ministry.

The Promise, A Lenten family service of joyful noise, will begin at 9 am in All Saint’s Chapel on Sundays beginning February 18th. This is a unique, welcoming Eucharist with energetic participation and an interactive liturgy especially suited for families with small children. This service lasts half an hour.

Our youngest members will be busy with serving our St. John’s Cathedral family and Spokane!

Matthew 25:35-36 says, “for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and youth clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We will be living into our identity as members of the Jesus Movement and as Christians. We will strive to look for Christ and serve him in others.

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