ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
AMESBURY, MASSACHUSETTS

For What Would You Ask?

for the week of May 9, 2021
Youth & Up mini-retreat

What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with a transition time - Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, music, Legos, drawing, etc.) - a time to change gears.

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.

3) Here are the appointed readings for May 9, 2021. Find them in your Bible, or click here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/lectionary/easter-6b/. Read them out loud. Ponder!

Our focus for this class =
For What Would You Ask?

This Sunday is Rogation Sunday (What's that? You can read all about it in this Saturday's email: Online Sunday School!). "Rogation" means "asking" or "requesting" - it comes from the Latin verb, "rogare". On Rogation Sunday (and the following three Rogation Days) (and every day), it's a time to ask God for what we want and need.

Surprise! God already knows. But it's really important for us to ask, anyway. It is always, always a good thing to talk with God. Sincere "asking" prayers - petitions - are one of the ways we pray. So, friends, for what, exactly, would you - will you - ask for from God?

In the olden days, Rogation Days were focused pretty keenly on agriculture. With processions around the parish boundaries, and plenty of prayers, the priest and people asked God for the success of crops and herds, protection and peace, the cooperation and goodwill of neighbors - to ensure that they would have enough to eat, and to be safe.

Nowadays, we ask for those things, and we also lean toward Creation Care and an awareness of the interconnectedness of everything. We may or may not walk the boundaries and borders of our parish, like once upon a time, but we can ponder them, and more!

On this Rogation Sunday, you might consider all the boundaries, IRL or not, that surround you. We are expected to respect some borders (like pandemic restrictions; various legal, human-created lines and laws; the Ten Commandments, and more) - but some boundaries can be reassessed, or changed - and some can be celebrated, with gratefulness. Think about your boundaries, and ask God for protection, understanding, and justice.

Next - think about what you are hoping and trying to grow, literally (for real, like a vegetable garden or a pet) and figuratively (symbolically or metaphorically: for instance, a relationship, a skill, a side gig). Ask God to lead you in the right ways.

Now: remember your neighbors, and their needs. We're all connected. It's what Jesus talks about in today's Gospel lesson. Ask God for guidance and help.

Finish up with a heartfelt thank you for all of God's creation and love. AMEN ("so be it")!

Look at you! You just celebrated your own Rogation Day!

PS Sometimes, you just have to move a border!
4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster:
Top 10 Things I Really Want God to Give Me and/or
Top 10 Reasons Why It's Good to Ask
Take a pic or write your list & email it to me!

6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc. And/or take 5 or more minutes for Centering Prayer: relaxing into peace & letting thoughts go. Breathe! Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato.

8) Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud:
Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! Alleluia!
Youth, come to a ZOOM CLASS on Friday - May 21
6:30pm, Friday, 5/21: Zoom link will be emailed - or text Linda
Zoom youth class every third Friday

More news! This info is from our Diocese - let me know if you're interested!

Applications will open by May 15 for the 2021-2022 Diocesan Youth Council (DYC). The DYC is open to young people in grades 9-12 looking to build community with other young people, engage in the work of justice and service, ask big questions about their faith & take on positions of leadership and responsibility: active ministry on the diocesan level. Questions? Contact the Rev. H. Mark Smith at hmsmith@diomass.org.

Seeking young people for focus groups: In preparation for workshops supporting parents and caregivers of adolescents, the Adolescent Mental Health Network is looking for young people in middle and high school to offer their input and feedback. Network members hope to talk with young people with a variety of needs and experiences, including an affinity space for young people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Each focus group will meet once over Zoom, either in the last week of May or the first week of June. Each participant will receive a small honorarium. To connect, contact the Rev. H. Mark Smith (hmsmith@diomass.org) or Eva Dalzell (edalzell@diomass.org).

PLUS -
Family Camp registration is open at the Barbara C Harris Center! Click here for info. (Note: no Summer Camp this year [again].) Are you interested in being a counselor or staff? (18+) BCH is hiringclick here!
Tell me about your experiences these past many months. What's good, what's bad? Etc.!
Sending prayers for hope, joy, justice, dignity, love, and peace + a blessed, healthy Easter season (50 days!). Love, Linda
Adults: Please share this email with youth. If you'd like me also to send these emails to the kids, please email me their addresses & your permission. Thanks! Linda