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February 4, 2018: Progress and Prospects - Children & Youth at All Souls

by Brian Smith, Christian Formation Leader

“The Child is the beauty of God present in the world.”  Sometimes it is easy for adults to forget this little gem from Mother Teresa.  When the “in thing” is homemade slime, or when a permanent marker finds its way into the hands of a toddler, it is by the grace of God that beauty is discernible in the moment.  But here at All Souls it radiates from so many different nooks and crannies, and so many wonderful people. 

I can say with confidence that the children in our corner of the Church bear the light of Christ in abundance and reflect another of my favorite quotes, this one from William Blake:  “Exuberance is beauty.”  This parish is blessed to have young people with such tremendous energy. Since arriving in September, I have really been impressed by their receptivity to a Spirit of “going deeper” at work in the (newly refurbished!) formation rooms.  Every Sunday, our children benefit from guidance, instruction, and some good old-fashioned play-time, thanks to our team of parents, volunteers, and nursery staff.  We have also had a couple of wonderful clergy visits that have enriched the formation experience with a meaningful pastoral presence, and provided a closer look at what the leadership does, and how it works.

In the Church, the common work of the people is the liturgy.  In order that our children grow to become more active participants in worship, they must build upon existing activities—like the procession of the elements—and embrace new roles and responsibilities that contribute to the beauty of the liturgy at All Souls.  In the coming months, this will involve developing stronger partnerships and educational experiences with liturgical ministries.

We are also starting a new “senior youth” group that will reflect on faith and culture and explore the option of confirmation. We’ll hopefully have a baptism or two (or more!) come Easter. We will continue to tap the diverse resources for youth formation in the Episcopal tradition, and develop partnerships across the diocese that advance justice, peace, and service.  In all of this we will treat the children in our care as little gems: glittering image-bearers of a present, loving, and beautiful God.

Last Published: January 25, 2018 3:00 PM
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