Children’s Spirituality Forum: Mindfulness Practices for Children

Sunday, April 18 at 11 to 12 p.m. on the First Lutheran Lawn

This event is for preschool and elementary-school children and their parents. We will be doing mindfulness practices (think yoga poses in game-style and breathing techniques) from Tracy Daniel’s book Mindfulness for Children: 150+ Mindfulness Activities for Happier, Healthier, Stress-Free Kids. We will also be doing mindfulness games that will help us get in balance with our bodies and snacks will be provided!

Mindfulness is a way to connect to your body and your mind in a way that is relaxing and fun. It is good for when you feel moody, stressed, or just need to relax. These practices are great ways for your children to settle their bodies after long hours in front of screens. We hope this will be a helpful resource for you during this stressful pandemic time, but also activities that you can use whenever you need them.

Youth Handbells Are Back!

Calling all youth in grades 2-8. You are invited to come ring handbells for a six week session. This is for returning ringers, as well as those who would like to learn how to ring. Youth will be divided into groups by grade level. Masks must be worn and social distancing will be observed. It is fun to ring bells. It is fun to make music together with other ringers. Come be part of our youth handbell program. Click here to sign up!

The 2021 Lenten Family Devotional is here!

In this time of distance and ample time with our families, First Lutheran would like to offer you a Lenten Devotional that is specifically adapted for families with grade-school children (though believers of all ages are welcome to explore their faith in a new creative way through this resource). As you seek to fill your time with arts and crafts, home schooling and screen time, we hope you can also add in some faith formation.

The Lenten Devotional was written to carry you week-by-week through the Lenten season with special devotions for Holy Week, but please adapt it to your own family’s needs. The Children’s Sermons each Sunday will be tied to this devotional, as well as Sunday School curriculum, so it’s a perfect partner for discussing faith at home. The devotional is filled with fun videos, crafts, and hands-on projects to make the stories come alive.

We pray your family finds a meaningful Lenten journey within these pages and we look forward to the day when we can once again return to worship and learn together.

Click here for the 2021 Lenten Family Devotional

Rainbow Trail Summer Camps for Summer 2021

It’s time to register for Summer Camp!! As we look toward the end of this pandemic, there is plenty of hope that we will be able to have a fun and safe summer with some of our old traditions back again. Please notice the dates below for the upcoming summer camps at Rainbow Trail and the link to register for these camps.
 
Intro to Camp (2-3 grade)
                June 20-23
                June 23-26
                August 1-4
Juniors (4-6 grade)
                June 20-26
                August 1-7
Junior High (7-8 grade)
                June 13-19
                August 1-7
Confirmation Camp** (6-8 grade)
                June 27-July 3
Senior High (9-12 grade)
                July 11-17
                July 25-31
 
Register Here! https://rtlc.campbrainregistration.com
Some of these dates might already have a waitlist.
 
Scholarships are available to those that need them. Please reach out to Michaela Eskew at michaela@flccs.net.
 
**Confirmation Camp is now a part of the confirmation curriculum for entering 8th graders and 2nd year 9th grade confirmands.

Netflix Watch Party – The Social Dilemma (2020)

January 22 at 9 p.m.

If you haven’t seen this documentary already, it is a must-see for anyone with a nine-year-old or older! This documentary addresses the way technology is behind the unprecedented levels of self-harm, suicide, technology addiction, depression, and rising intolerance in society today. With technology taking over more of our lives now that it ever has, it is important to know the ethics (or lack-there-of) behind some of the biggest technology companies in America. This is a critical expose that features former executives from Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, and more exposing the gloomy underside of social media. It’s not all dark though, this eye-opening documentary shows us the ways that social media can be used for good and were ultimately created with good intentions. This documentary helps us to regulate social media when it has been known to not regulate itself. How do we use social media as the tool it is meant to be rather than being played by it? 

Join me on a late Friday night (after bedtime) for a Netflix Watch Party. There will be a chat box next to the movie that will allow us to interact and discuss while we watch. **You will need to have a Netflix subscription to join and add the Teleparty extension to your Google Chrome browser. More information can be found here: https://www.netflixparty.com

If you are interested in this event, please email michaela@flccs.net. The link to the watch party can only be shared at the start of the event, so to receive the link you will need to RSVP via email before the event date and time.

Welcome Back to Sunday School!

Sunday School will resume on January 10. We are so excited to see you! For 2021 we will be practicing tighter security on all our Zoom Sunday School gatherings. This means that we will no longer be publishing the zoom links in our newsletters or on our website, despite the increased security of a waiting room. Zoom links will now be sent only through emails from Shelly. We are going to be as careful as possible to make sure that all families are safe while meeting online at First Lutheran. Please see the schedule below for our Sunday School offerings. If you have not received previous emails from Shelly, our Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry, or are interested in these gatherings and would like the zoom links, please email her at shelly@flccs.net.

Preschool Zoom 11 a.m. on Sundays
Kinder-1st Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Mondays
2nd-3rd Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Saturdays
4th-5th Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Tuesdays
6th-7th Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Wednesdays

Children’s Christmas Program – ZOOM Style

Another opportunity for being creative! We are planning to put on our traditional Christmas program via Zoom – if kids are interested. Please ask your kids if they want to participate and explain that they will need to commit to doing it. They also have to be pretty good readers and good with doing it via Zoom.

If so, ask them to provide their first and second choice for a part (the part of Mary always goes to a 5th grade girl). We will edit the script to shorten and accommodate whoever is interested and mail a printed version. It is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. and will be available for our members and your families to watch live. The point of doing it is for the kids to maintain this tradition of learning the story and being a part of the Sunday school community. As for costumes – the kids are charged with making one from whatever they can find at home! Let Shelly know by November 23 via email – shelly@flccs.net.

Coping in a Pandemic: Three Strategies for Setting Mental Health Boundaries on Technology

By Michaela Eskew

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many children and youth to experience mental health problems including anxiety, stress, and depression. This 3-part podcast series includes three coping strategies for combating the technology overload we have all experienced in this pandemic.  Connection, Focus, and Rest are three things we may feel like we were always lacking but this pandemic has only put a greater spotlight on their necessity for proper mental health. Using the book The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction by Christine Carter, PhD, this series helps with practical strategies for giving ourselves grace and proper mental health boundaries in this pandemic.

Start the series by clicking below for Coping in a Pandemic – Connection
https://flccs.net/media/712625-3943678-2764845/coping-in-a-pandemic-connection

For those parents out there, there is a special fourth podcast just for you! If you are wondering, “How do I possibly get my kids to listen to these podcasts or even implement these strategies?” this podcast is for you! It’s a bit longer than the strategy podcasts, but it uses Christine Carter’s amazing book to provide solid research for what is stressing teens today (trust me its more than you handled as a teenager) and how to work with them to alleviate those stressors.
https://flccs.net/media/712625-3943678-2764763/coping-in-a-pandemic-the-new-adolescence-podcast

I hope these podcasts will be a resource for all that feel fatigued by technology and it is something you can come back to again and again as you need.

A Word of Encouragement for American Youth

Hi Youth of First Lutheran,

Please read this – it is very important.

As I write this we are 5 days from Election Day and it feels like America is the farthest it has ever been from being united. Many of us are triggered by the things we hear from social media and news outlets and are feeling upset. If you are feeling that way too, I want you to know that I care so much for kids living in this time and I hope these next few words will be of help for you.


Many of you might be feeling anxious, you have a voice and opinions about the country and yet you are not yet allowed to vote. That can feel very discouraging, but right now we need your voices more than ever. Regardless of where you would have voted in this election, our loyalty to Christ always comes first. Just as Jesus walked with the children, the sick, and the outcasts of his society, he walks with those that feel invisible and silenced in this society and calls his followers to do the same. Jesus taught us that no one is to be overlooked and the care of the entire community is in our hands.


Christians (and even Old Testament Jewish believers) have long struggled with governments and leaderships. I’m not talking about the Egyptians holding the Israelites as slaves before they were taken out into the wilderness and the promised land by Moses, although that was a hard time for the Jewish people. I’m instead talking about the kings of the Old Testament, people that were flawed and made mistakes just like us. Even in a kingdom that should have been ruled by good kings and queens following God, they still messed up. Why? Because they forgot that God was supposed to be the ultimate king. Then zoom many many many years later and you have Jesus saying the same thing. Anytime he is tested about how to be good citizens in Israel, he responds with something along the lines of “do what you have to do: pay taxes, follow civil laws, but don’t forget who your real leader is.” Then in the early church, after Jesus had died, his disciples tried to follow those same rules. They didn’t focus on government leadership, they instead focused on feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and telling people about Jesus.


Throughout history Christians have been trying to follow the rules of separation of church and state, to help them to remain both good citizens and good Christians no matter who was ruling the kingdoms and countries they lived in. And remember most of these people never got to choose their rulers at all, they just had to obey them! We are so lucky that when we do reach 18 years old, we get a vote in how our country is run! Our Christian faith doesn’t change after this election, we are still called to Love God with all our soul, with all our heart, and with all our strength and Love Our Neighbor as ourselves. We are also called to care for God’s creation. Jesus doesn’t want us divided, God wants us united working toward God’s kingdom.


So, if you are feeling anxious about the upcoming election, like I am, then try to rest in the idea that God is not surprised by this election or any election for that matter. Please hear that: you can rest and be at peace. There is a larger plan at work for God and God’s kingdom on earth. In the midst of that plan we are given free will and we must actively pursue the care of all creatures and people. These thoughts give me some peace in this conflict-ridden time, but what really helps is to walk away from the
craziness of social media and news outlets and be with real people that I care for and need me in this pandemic. Who can you reach out to?
I hope this letter helps you to see that you are only the most recent generation that has felt fear about changes in power, felt longing for a better world, and tried to walk the fine line between being a good citizen and being a good Christian. Just like Christians before you, I encourage you to seek out fellow believers and keep working toward God’s Kingdom because that’s the only power that matters.

May God be with all our elected officials, both recently elected and those returning for another term. May we always remember who is really in power and the world that God called us to create. Remind us always to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, look after our sick and visit the imprisoned (Matthew 25: 31-46). Calm our fears and return us to right community with one another. It is in Jesus’s power and name that we pray, AMEN!

Faithfully,
Michaela Eskew
Minister of Faith Formation

Post-Confirmation High School Small Groups

Are you missing the small group that you went through confirmation with? Are you interested in getting back together once a week for some time to chat and re-connect? Wednesday night LIGHT, our new 7 pm worship service on the lawn, features large group breakouts after worship. We want to create a group that is just for you, 10th-12th graders. If you are interested, please let Michaela know. Click here to email her!

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