Here is the recorded Brainstorming Zoom conference from July 30, 2020. Thank you to all that were able to make it and shared their wonderful ideas. The first 30 min is idea sharing and the last 30 min. is talking about and asking questions about fall programming guidelines.

Amy Ezell shared about an upcoming webinar for those that have DHS child care licensing. There will be a webinar on how childcare centers can provide care for Elementary students who do not have care, but must take part in online classes due to Covid19. Tune in Wed. Aug. 5 at 1:00 to learn more. Link will be on Facebook!

-Little Rock, AR: In accordance with the guidelines issued by Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC, Bishop Gary Mueller has issued updated guidance for ARUMC children’s, youth and campus ministries effective immediately. “With the Covid-19 numbers continuing to stay dangerously high, the Arkansas United Methodist Churches will remain in ARUMC Stage 2 and follow all guidelines that were provided in June 2020. With assistance from my taskforce, it was deemed necessary to update the ARUMC Stage 2 guidance for three particular ministries,“ stated Bishop Mueller. “Again, due to safety concerns, I want to urge all churches to continue to go slow with reopening and meeting maximum gathering numbers.”
Creating a Sacred space during online worship is a wonderful tool to teach faith formation at home. Crystal Taylor from Highland Valley UMC created this video for the WHOLE church as they continue their online worship. I love how she says Children's Ministers have been doing this a long time and now it time for you to adapt it to your homes. Why have we been making a Sacred Space with children? Because it is teaching ritual, teaching meditation on the Holy Word, because it teaches ​children that what is being shared that moment is special to them. 

Crystal challenges her congregation at Highland Valley to create that same space at home with simple items. She suggests that during the online service your pastors will make reference to families sacred space. The shared ritual at home will help bring them together as a church while they are apart. It also creates special moments for parents and children. The parents can collect the items, the children can set it up, the online pastor refers to the items and the family is sharing a Holy Moment together! I would like to add one addition that I know Crystal already does with her ministry kids, but it wasn't in the video. I would encourage the online pastor to ask the families to give one another a blessing a the conclusion of worship. 

Crystal gave us a great example of how you can create your own simple and quick video about creating Sacred Space. I want to encourage you all to make your own personal to your church Sacred Space video. Encourage your pastors to make it with you and ask them to include it into their online ministry. Don't just post it on social media, send it in emails and text to whole congregation. If it is in your budget create starter set of items for Sacred Spaces, you could drop it by the homes of those you feel may find it creates extra work to collect the items.
One may think that church vans may be sitting alone in empty church parking lots out in the hot summer sun. Of course, we are not using them to pick up and deliver children, youth, and adults to our buildings or events due to the Covid19 pandemic so why would they leave their parking spots? It would be easy for one to think that those reliable church vans and buses could not possibly be used again until the church returns to building use.

The pandemic has required people to get creative with online worship and lessons. We have been pressed to think outside the normal church walls and WIFI use in ministry which has led to porch visits, food delivering, dropping off Bible lessons supplies, and celebrating a masked milestone in a driveway. It has been amazing to see the church working in the community, but how did those ministry teams get out into their communities?
Tiffany Jones from Beebe shared, “When using our own cars, it created expensive mileage costs.” They also found their loads of goodies that they were taking to family’s homes fit better in the van during their multiple stops each day. When they drove down long driveways or came unannounced, people always knew it was the church when they saw the church van logos. Tiffany also shared, “They would see us and immediately come to the porch to greet us. Many commented they knew it was the church as soon as they looked out the window.”
Well, you know who else looks out the window, neighbors! Neighbors saw that FUMC van was making a visit. Neighbors asked what was in the Vacation Bible School box that they saw delivered to the front porch from the church. Neighbors saw masked church staff and volunteers driving the van to bring faith, hope, and love to members during the quarantine. Church vans need to be used for everything you do in ministry now as a way for others to witness that church is happening outside the church walls. Neighbors may want to be part of a church that they can see delivering weekly faith, hope, and love. When people see that church logo driving through the neighborhood, they see the hands and feet of Jesus in their neighborhood.
I know that not all churches have the luxury of a church vehicle, but you can very cost-effectively purchase Church Logo Door Magnets. When a church staff or volunteer drives their own vehicle with a church logo driver door magnet, neighbors know this is not just a friend stopping by for a visit. You can contact: 
Digital Print & Imaging  Mike Burnett 902 Cumberland St Little Rock, AR 72202 501-376-2200v 501-376-2202f  for a 12x18 Church Logo door magnet.
I purchased two for $60 and had to pay postage. I think that is a great deal for any church!
My colleague from the Michigan UMC conference Deacon Kathy Pittenger shared this with our small group. I thought it was just lovely and would be so helpful to any of you planning Backpack Blessings during this special time. Please keep in mind if you decide on some of her ideas that are more than during online worship, you may want to push your blessing back to after they have a week under their belt. We never want programming to feel like another added stress during this uncertain time of Covid19 back to school.
I have added two new resource tabs to the Conference Children's Website. Click the links for those that you find helpful.
This is not just for Youth workers! Children's Ministers are very welcome to join this online Sabbath challenge. Since this year’s emphasis for Equip was to provide Sabbath time, the theme will now be Equip: Sabbath in September. With registration, you will gain access to a “How to Sabbath” guidebook with a checklist for planning, resources, activities, studies, meditations and more to help you design a Sabbath time specific to your schedule, needs and interests some time during the month of September. In addition, there will be opportunities for those participating in Equip: Sabbath in September to join in an online community to share ideas, pictures, and experiences as you plan and complete your self-led Sabbath.
This event will run September 1 thru September 30, 2020.
Registration will close on September 30, 2020

Director Kayla Hardage wants your kids ideas for camp 2021! Make it a challenge for your kids who know Tanako to design a camp sure or flag. Feel free to share the YouTube link about the challenge on your social media and newsletters as well as sending out these graphic announcements.
For your planning purposes get these dates on the church calendar:
Dates to remember :

  • Postponed Quest September 25,2021