April 2017 (1)

Our Mission:
Supporting lifelong faith formation in the home and congregation.


From the President's Desk
 
This month we meet a sister from over the ocean, Susan Wright. Susan has a unique opportunity in Australia teaching faith in the public schools. She has also truly taken to heart Jesus' command to...
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... Matthew 28:19
 
But Susan also reminds us that teaching the faith, wherever you are, requires constant prayers from all the saints. As we have just completed the most holy three days, please hold Susan and all who teach in your prayers.
 
You have seen her YouTube videos posted in our Facebook group. Now, take a few minutes to grab your favorite beverage and get to know Susan's story.
 
Blessings,
 
Pastor Juli Lejman-Guy


 
6 Questions and a Cup of Coffee with...  
Susan Wright

G'day from sunny Australia!

Just over 28 years ago I met Mr. Right (literally) as I was doing summer volunteer work in Europe. We married two years later and I left my family, friends and hometown of Orlando, Florida to begin what seems like a second life in Brisbane, Australia. After I moved to Brisbane, I  gained a Master of Education from the University of Queensland. A few years later, we began a family. We have 4 children, 3 in college, studying various degrees and our youngest son is a senior at St. Peter's Lutheran College. This year he holds the Faith Captain position and regularly is asked to give the chapel service messages for the college. How I wish I could go and listen in - but he won't let me!

1. Can you describe your call to ministry?

While working one day, I vividly remember sitting in a school assembly and I looked over the faces of the children and the words of the Apostle Paul came to my mind: "How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?" (Romans 10:14) My heart was heavy as I knew they didn't have enough volunteers at the school to cover the religion classes, so I began to pull back from paid teaching and give more time to being involved in this ministry.
 
I have realized over the years that I am a minister of the Gospel to many children in my community who are outside the regular church. Even though I'm not paid or officially recognized as a 'minister' by church institutions, I feel extremely grateful and humbled that my school communities welcome me into their world and in some cases, into their lives.

2. What is the best part of your ministry now?

Currently I have 15 classes at 5 schools in my local community and I love it. I am also involved in some church-based student ministries as well. Every week I have the privilege to share the Christian faith with hundreds of kids. One of the best things I experience daily is walking into a class and being met with big smiles and hearing, 'Yay, Mrs. Wright is here!' How many people walk into their work and are greeted like that? I am so blessed!

3. What is one fact about you that would surprise people?

I have found some interesting differences working in schools in the USA and Australia. One big difference is that in Australia, students have the freedom to enjoy a weekly religion class for 30 minutes in the public schools. It is an optional class that parents can enroll their child into. This is surprising, isn't it? Coming from the USA, I had never heard of such freedoms enjoyed in public schooling. So this is where I decided to focus some attention while I was working and writing my Master's thesis. Conducting a religion class is a voluntary activity. Approved representatives from any religion can provide trained people to go into schools under the supervision of the classroom teacher.
 
4. What are three things Christian Educators need to keep their eye on?

Firstly , children these days are much more discerning. They are taught from a young age to think for themselves - which is a good thing. So trying to 'impose' a set of beliefs on them doesn't work and will more than likely turn them away from faith.
 
Secondly, I also never assume that children want to believe in what I'm sharing. If anything, I let them know that it is hard to be a follower of Jesus in the world we live in. It's their choice and no one should make them believe. When I approach my lessons from this perspective, the children are more engaged, asking questions and prompted to search out their own faith decisions. I take my lead from Jesus who never imposed or manipulated people to believe in him. He taught the truth in love and his love for children is so evident in the passage recorded in Luke 18:15-17.
 
Thirdly , it's taken me many years to figure this out, but I now realize that kids really don't listen to much of my lesson content. What they listen for is... 'Does Mrs. Wright care about me?'   If they feel I care about them, then they will listen to the content. I heard Dr. Kevin Lehman speak on a Focus on the Family broadcast years ago and it's stuck with me: "No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." This is so true.
 
5. What are some of your favorite resources?

My favorite resource to use with my lessons is my iPad. I have learned how to hook it up to smart boards and projectors which enables me to have a huge variety of visuals and interactivity with my lessons. Screen language is one of the main ways kids engage with the world these days and it has been a wonderful teaching tool.

6. How can we pray for you?

Please pray that the freedoms we enjoy in Australia will remain for children in schools. And pray for the many volunteers who are teaching thousands of kids every week. Currently, there are a small number of 'Anti-Christian' lobby groups that are trying to remove such freedoms. These groups are aggressive, promoting fear through misinformation and online bullying. Unfortunately, myself, colleagues, classroom teachers and principals have been targets of their activities. This is tough and honestly, I struggle with fear at times.
 
Also, I have taken up a new venture of starting a children's ministry YouTube channel, 'WRIGHT IDEAS WITH SUSAN'. I upload quick and simple ideas for people in children's ministry. It has taken me well out of my comfort zone, but I am getting good feedback from people all over the world who are finding the ideas useful in their ministries. I could use prayers for wisdom and life balance. It is time-consuming and I'm afraid I let it creep into family, ministry and personal time, which isn't good.
 
Thank you for including me into this community and letting me share a little bit of my life and work with you. I'm so encouraged by people like you who are making a huge difference in the lives of children and young people. What you do is so important! I'm so glad that Jesus cares about children and he has put it in our hearts to guide, care for and love children too.   As they would say here in Australia, "I think we're a good lot!"   
           
(Translation: 'I think we're a good bunch!')
 
Prayer Pause
 
 
God of the resurrection, please be present with us during the season of Easter. Help to remind us that Jesus' death on a cross and subsequent resurrection is a great demonstration of your love; that through our faith we are forgiven all our sins on a daily basis. 
 
Amen.

 
  
   
 
Our Facebook group continues to grow with over 
1,000 members!
 

 
We have TWO events left on our Facebook Party schedule!
 
 
Facebook Party Schedule
 
Tuesday, April 18: Involving Older Adults with Children's Ministry
 
Tuesday, May 16: Equipping Adults to Lead Small Groups






  

 

 

 

 

Christian Education Network of the ELCA
Vision Statement


 

Building a community which equips, encourages, and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world by:

  • Providing resources and educational opportunities
  • Facilitating communication and conversation 
  • Offering networking, idea sharing, and mutual support
  • Nurturing spiritual growth
     
     

 

 

 

 
Upcoming Events

  
Intergenerate Conference
 
Sunday, Jun 25, 2017 to
Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017
 
Click here for information about this even.

Check our website  for more resources and upcoming faith formation events.

Contact Us
  
    CENetwork of the ELCA 
(formerly LACE)
P.O. Box 9304
Rochester, MN 55903


  Phone messages may be left at 
(507) 721-0057