Hard Truths and Soft Rocks

Last night, my wife Naomi and I watched Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's original romantic comedy, The Wedding Singer. Though it came out in 1998, the movie takes place thirteen years earlier, in 1985. I remember thinking as an eighth grader, upon viewing it at release, that the mid-eighties seemed like forever-ago. You can only imagine how old I felt yesterday when I realized The Wedding Singer itself is now twenty years old, undoubtedly ancient to today's middle school-age youth. Time deals some hard truths.

Having worked in ministry for over ten years, I've heard the same truths about the modern church and culture so many times.

We don't feel confident enough in our biblical literacy to teach the young.

Our children are not passing the faith along to our grandchildren.

Sunday mornings are hard.

There are two responses to hard truths such as these. We can either keep doing things the way they've been done, catering to those for whom the current model still "works", hoping culture will eventually shift back in our direction OR we can hold time-honored traditions loosely, experimenting with new ways to meet people where they are. Did you know there is a movement in Lutheran faith formation known as "Killing Sunday School/Birthing Cross+Gen Community"? Though I find the verbiage rather audacious, sometimes visions are most effective when we don't smooth away all the rough edges.

This kind of bold thinking has helped steer the planning team leading the resurrection of Vacation Bible School this summer at Good Shepherd. While we hope to retain the heart and soul of VBS that resonates with many, our dream for a new, reimagined Vacation Bible School aims to address some of the hard truths the Church is struggling with today. Here's how:

It's on a weekend
Vacation Bible School begins with dinner on Friday, July 20 and ends with a potluck lunch on Sunday, July 22. We are doing it this way because we really want parents to participate with their kids. At the end of every large group (one Friday night, one Saturday morning, and one Saturday after lunch) we will build in response time for family units to engage in faith conversation, pray together and bless one another. These practices can be really intimidating to start, especially in the home, so we want to coach you through it in a safe space.

It's open to everyone
Children, youth, and adults are all invited to Vacation Bible School. In the summer, it's easy to feel disconnected from the church. We hope this bring everyone together and enhances our community. One of the bits of feedback I've gotten about our cross-generational SME hours is that it brings together people who normally would not interact. VBS will surely do that, as we explore together how God calls us all into community, to create, and to care for the earth.

Children, 3rd grade and under, must sign-up with an adult
These may seem like fightin' words, but young children will need to sign-up as part of a "family unit." The good news is the adult can be a grandparent, godparent, neighbor, or friend. We hope all adults take advantage of this opportunity to sign-up with a young person in their life with whom they'd like to share the love of Jesus. Though young children will split off from older children and adults for one hour during each session, this weekend will be a shared experience for all involved.

If this sounds like an exciting or valuable opportunity, please register HERE or share the registration with a loved one. We are looking forward to making an old thing new and hope you can join us!

Blessings,

Andrew Buck
Director, Cross-Generational Ministry

Sunday's Readings
Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17


Health & Healing in Nicaragua continues this Sunday , 9:30-10:30 am in Fellowship Hall -  In this three-week SME class, Pastor Tim will share his experience working with a cohort from Wake Forest School of Divinity, their trip to Nicaragua in January 2018, and how Good Shepherd might take action. All are welcome!

Charitable Giving & the New Tax Law - This Sunday, 12:00-12:45 pm, Underwood West -  Join Kristen Hoyle, CPA for an overview of the impact of the new tax law on charitable donations. Kristen will share helpful tips and will be available to answer your questions. Sponsored by the Stewardship Team; refreshments will be provided.

Acolyte Training & Refresher - This Sunday, 12:00-1:00 pm, Sanctuary -  Get ready to be trained or refreshed on the responsibilities, movements, and all things acolyte! Anyone 6 years and older is welcome, including parents who are interested in serving with their youth. 

Comfort for a Child: Blanket Prep - This Sunday, 2:00-4:00 pm, Fellowship Hall -   Join us for an afternoon as we prep blankets to donate to Families Together. The blankets are large but the skill level required is small. We will provide instructions and all supplies. Youth are more than welcome and can earn service hours.

Have you seen the Envelope Wall in the Narthex? In less than two months, Good Shepherd is sending 22 youth and 6 adults to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX.  We have been fundraising for three years, and it's time for the final push!  Grab an envelope on the wall to share financial support and prayers with the participants. Get a glimpse of the wall here
 
While it may be hard to believe, our summer sermon series starts in a month.  Check out this year's topics and resources.

Grab a Treat at Goodberry's and Support Our Preschool! - 
Wednesday, May 9, 1:00-8:00 pm - 
Stop by Goodberry's at 9700 Strickland Rd., and a portion of your purchase will benefit our preschool. Just be sure to tell them you are with Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool! .

Spring Clean Up - Saturday, May 12, 8:00 am-12:00 pm (or whenever we finish)  Take the morning off from working in your yard; come work in ours instead! Bring your pruners, trimmers, rakes, gloves, etc. or just the will to work outside; no green thumb necessary. All ages are welcome, and tasks will include weeding and mulching. Donuts will be provided!

Support your Kicknic Team & Mnene Orphans; Buy Your Hat This Sunday -  Two different colors of hats will go on sale for $15 in the Narthex on Sundays, May 6 - 20. And, get ready to play and/or cheer at the Kicknic at Baileywick Park on May 20!

Penny Wars continue! Bring your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, bills and checks to the Narthex to support the orphans of Mnene Parish.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements .

Health and Healing  for Lib Glover; Theodore and Esther Fleagle, parents of Barb Newcomer .

Thanksgiving for this Sunday's baptism of Rachelle Natalie and Jameson Patrick Burris, children of Erica and Ryan Burris; for the 3rd grade Bible Blessing participants; for our Sunday School teachers; for the members of Rams Men's Ministry at Camp Agape this weekend; and for HeartSong seniors, Katy Peachy, Alex Trimmer and Brennan Trimmer.

Sympathy to  Angie Metz and family at the death of her uncle, Guy Hartman, Sr.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Talent Sigono and Aleta Moyo.

Talent is 27 and married with a 5 year old daughter. Last fall at Masvingo Polytechnic she completed a two-year program and received a diploma in horticulture. She is now working to complete the final two years of a four-year program at Masvingo Polytechnic which will earn her a High National diploma. This degree will give her a much better chance to find employment. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Cortney Tyson.

Aleta is 26 and has 2 small children. She had been enrolled at Zvishavane Vocational School, studying hairdressing. She left school before she completed the program. We continue to hold Aleta in our thoughts and prayers. She is the oldest of 7 siblings enrolled in the GSLC support program. Aleta's Mail For Mnene partner is Cathie Strawbridge.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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