On Monday, January 2, I went to the gym, and it was packed. I said to the front desk clerk, “Why is the parking lot so full for a Monday at noon?” She responded with “Yes! There have been 700 people in the pool and gym before between 5 am and noon!” My jaw dropped because that is a lot of people for my little gym. According to the front desk clerk, many of the people at the gym were there because of New Year’s resolution. She also told me that most gym resolutions only last 12 days. I wondered if that was true for other resolutions while I rode my stationary bike. So have made 3 resolutions for my person, my health, and my work, and I am hoping that I can keep them.
Resolution #1: Read More Books. Last year was a terrible year for books and me. Yes, there are lots of good books, and I have a stack next to the bed, but my problem is that I ran out of time or didn’t make enough time. And then, there is the issue of buying new books before I have finished what I started. This year, I am going to read my current stack. No number limit. No buying new books. I hope I can do it! Below is my list to get started at home. You can see “Astrid the Unstoppable” and that’s my fun read for my winter family book club.
Resolution #2: Drink More Water. Last summer, I got mildly dehydrated. I could barely stand up without feeling dizzy and falling over. Recovery took me drinking water, hanging my head over the side of the bed, and trying to focus. In the photo above, my water bottle is next to my books so as I read, I drink water. It’s a win-win situation!
Resolution #3: Creating a “Kids in Worship” Team. This one is a little surprising, but yes! I am looking for a team of people from age 3 to age 93 to tackle all the ways we as a congregation can embrace kids in worship. Below is my new article that is coming out to the congregation next week, and I hope to get a variety of people! If you need new inspiration, turn to your congregation for wisdom and wants, next steps and courage. This is turning out to be truly exciting for me.
Baptism: A Congregation’s Responsibility
This Sunday, January 8, we celebrate the “Baptism of Our Lord,” and we will celebrate two baptisms at the Minneapolis sanctuary. In this sacrament, parents, caregivers, and sponsors make a series of promises to the child. These promises use active verbs like “live,” or “hear,” or “proclaim,” and as we grow, these promises turn into faith practices for daily life.
Enter YOU, the congregation member.
The congregation makes a promise, too. Parents and sponsors aren’t meant to shoulder this responsibility alone. Baptism is a public event where we promise to love the baptized unconditionally and notice them as a crucial part of God’s family.
Being a part of God’s family is a gift. It’s an intergenerational mix of people, where you can find a 3 year old sitting next to a 93 year old. That’s what makes being the church such a unique experience, and the Bethlehem friends and families love being among YOU! Here is why:
Because YOU make them feel welcomed: “I love how we see kids in worship, we get grounded when Jesus says, ‘Let the children come.’”(Linae)
Because YOU understand that “they cannot learn to be the church without being in church.” (Sherry)
Because YOU know how important children are to the church and are “more than tolerant of them when they are fussy toddlers and moody teenagers” (Annie)
Because YOU offer “space to grow, learn and make mistakes, and you offer them a space at the table.” (Laura)
Because YOU can be “an additional support system for parents and for kids, and that you will love these children just the way they are.” (Katie)
Because YOU are a “trusted ally, someone kids can talk to when they have awkward questions about faith and life. And we promised to love and support each child in their walk of faith.” (Deb and Mike)
That’s it. We welcome kids in worship, because of how YOU love, and that’s what Bethlehem does so well, love.
So join the team! The Children, Youth, and Family staff is creating a team to lean into our congregational promise to love these children and students even more. We are looking for a few more team members of all ages from 3-93 to be a part of this important work we promise to do. This team will make considerations on “all things kids” in worship such as the prayer ground, pew partners for the newly baptized, or pew information on how to connect with families of little ones. If you are interested in being on this team, please contact Pastor Heather.