Clergy Reflection – March 3, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Parenting is hard work! My daughter Emma is now 15 and my son Duncan is 18. I only became an empty-nester last fall when they both left home for school for the first time. I know first-hand the challenges of juggling parenthood with the rest of life. St. John’s is filled with parents who are engaged in this same endeavor. There are late night illness, early morning wake-ups, soccer practices, homework to supervise, meals to prepare, school forms to fill out, siblings to negotiate, technology to supervise, hygiene and other life lessons to teach, and much, much more. And this is on top of your own professional and personal responsibilities…. if you are lucky enough to get to them! Which is why I am always impressed when a family takes the time to make church a priority through all the muddle, and bring their children to St. John’s.
On Tuesday of this week I had a wonderful meeting with a number of parents of grade-school-aged children to discuss their hopes and dreams for Christian education for their kids. Parents lives are different from what they were even 20 years ago, and programs that once worked at St. John’s may no longer. I was delighted to hear directly from parents about how we can meet the needs of their families. This means not only the needs of children, but of parents as well. Parents are stressed and stretched in every direction – how do you find God in your life? How can St. John’s help? We came up with some great feedback and suggestions as a start to this conversation.
In addition, last weekend the Vestry had their annual Vestry retreat and one of the big topics of conversation was this very thing – how do we best meet the spiritual needs of children and their parents? Where are our strengths and what are we missing? The St. John’s leadership is committed to strengthening the parish’s support for parents and children. The Vestry formed a task force to address this issue. Plan to hear more details about this in the future.
If any parents were unable to make the meeting on Tuesday, I am always happy to hear your thoughts.
You are very dear to me and to God in Christ.
Faithfully yours,
Stephanie+