Youth E-Chat: May 19, 2020
Dear Friends,

As things begin to slowly re-open in MN, I know you are beginning to ask questions about when it will be possible to safely gather with youth. Bishop Tom has discouraged returning to in-person worship too quickly, even when it comes time that we are able to meet in groups larger than ten. I share his caution as we consider next steps for youth ministry. Our youth, families and volunteers need us to give careful thought and plan strategically as we move forward. I encourage you to read through the documents Bishop Tom has shared to help congregations discern gathering in-person:

These offer some helpful frameworks and guidance, even if they speak most directly to worship. Youth ministry leaders have additional challenges and responsibility as we consider meeting with youth. Will parents give permission for youth to gather? Will young children understand and be able to abide with social distancing from friends…and their favorite Sunday school teacher? What will your church council allow? What safety precautions do we need to put in place? What is our liability in offering in-person programming for minors if we move faster than CDC recommendations? How do we protect youth with underlying medical conditions when they don’t want to comply with social distancing? What is our protocol if a youth or volunteer gets sick and has exposed participants? What does socially distanced programming look like – for games, worship, transportation, servant events, etc?

This is a complex time, and I urge you to build a team to help you consider all the implications, and develop guidelines and practices for your setting as you discern how to move forward with youth ministry.

Alongside safety questions, I encourage you to consider these two questions to frame your ministry moving forward:
  • What is our purpose for this ministry (our “Why”), and
  • What will be helpful for youth and families in the coming months?

These were two of the questions we discussed during “Reframing Youth Ministry” last week. We need to continue to wrestle with these questions as we move through and beyond COVID-19. If you weren’t able to attend, you can watch the video and/or download a PDF of the PowerPoint . I plan to hold similar online conversations in the coming weeks…stay tuned for dates and topics.

I wish there was a clear and easy answer to how we move forward. Every congregation needs to discern their path based on your context within CDC guidelines and MN orders. You are in my prayers as you make your plans. I am so grateful for the faithful ways in which you are walking with young people and their families, nurturing and supporting them in faith during this critical time. You make a difference!

Together in Christ,
Catherine Anderson
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
COVID-19 Resource Updates
New this week:
  • More graduation resources, including a toolkit from the Nebraska Synod and the Episcopal Church.
  • More VBS resources, including webinars to help congregations discern plans for this summer.
  • Video and PowerPoint links to the "Reframing Youth Ministry" event on May 14.
  • Resources to help you lead discussions on racism during COVID-19. Young people are eager to have these conversations and learn how they can respond to make a difference in their peer groups and communities. These resources are intended to equip and support you in leaading those conversations.
  • Tiger McLuen and "Youth Ministry Consultants" videos on leading through COVID-19. Last week's video: "What's Next in Ministry"?
  • Milestone Ministry resources and discussion guides for social distancing and end of year milestones.

Featured Resources:
  • Discussion Guides related to COVID-19, to to use with youth and adults. Topics include anxiety, grief, coping skills, anger, stress/distress, and mindfulness.
Online Network Meetings
(For Volunteers, Paid Youth Directors, Pastors...YOU!)

​The best learning we can do for our ministries is to be in conversation with other ministry leaders. These weekly network meetings are an opportunity to learn from each other, support each other, share ideas and resources, pray and laugh together. We are better together!

Check-In meetings will be every Thursday, 10am, through May 28.

Login information for this Thursday, May 21:

You can also access the weekly link on the Faith Formation Resources in Response to COVID-19 page.

If these times don't work for you and you would like to check in with someone, please  email Catherine  or call 218-724-4424, ext 124. You are not alone as we navigate these challenging days!
Upcoming Events for Adult Leaders
Peer Ministry Leadership Online Training Opportunities:

May 19: LSS Benefit for Youth
11:45am - 12:30pm, Livestream
This annual fundraising event highlights the obstacles young Minnesotans face and the ways in which LSS, together with all of us, helps map a route to their success. The goal of this event is to raise financial support for LSS. You are able to designate donations to LSS in your community. It is also a helpful event to learn more about their resources and stories! Click here for more information and to register! You can list Catherine Anderson as your table captain.

Coming Soon:
Synod Journey Overview:
A Zoom event to give you an overview of the new Synod Journey plan and answer your questions.

ELCA Youth Gathering Online Training:
A Zoom event to give you an overview of the ELCA Youth Gathering and how to begin planning. This will be a broad conversation on the ELCA Youth Gathering. We will plan a detailed online training in July to discuss registration and other details.
Mental Health Moment
Joy Hensel, Project Coordinator for the NE MN Synod Mental Health Initiative and team members will be sharing thoughts with you each week to encourage, educate, resource and support you as you walk with the anxiety, fear, and grief of youth and adults, and care for yourselves.
Additional videos are available at .
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Two helpful website from the MN Department of Health:

Weekly Youth E-Chat
While we learn to live with and respond to COVID-19 in our homes and congregations, I will be sending out Youth E-Chat every Tuesday morning with updates and resources for you to use in your congregations. If you have anyone in your congregation who would like to be added to this e-newsletter (it is a different database than our synod's Online Reflections/Announcements), please have them sign up here. You can also find previous Youth E-Chats on the Faith Formation Resources for COVID-19 web page.
Catherine Anderson | Coordinator of Youth Ministry | NE MN Synod, ELCA | 218-724-4424