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Contributed by the Deacon Kristina Burbank of St. James Santiago, Lincoln City
Photos by George Hemingway
Several years back a national conference on Christian Formation posed the question: “Will our faith have children?”
If Children’s Day at the Coast recently hosted by St. James Santiago in Lincoln City is any indication, the answer is a lively, joyful, and heartfelt “Yes!”
Sponsored by the Ministry of Lifelong Christian Formation, the six hour event, “Celebrate the Seasons”, held on April 21st, explored the seasons of the church year through story-telling, crafts, and a variety of creative activities with a distinctly Latino flavor.
Missioner Barbara Ross reports that the 25 children and nearly as many adults who attended represent the largest turn-out for a Children’s Day event held at a location other than the cathedral. Participants came from as far north as Manzanita and as far south as Toledo.
She writes that ‘the children were very receptive and fun to work with. They seemed to enjoy everything about the day—including a delicious lunch of pizza and dirt sundaes replete with gummy worms.’ She adds that ‘many positive comments were received from the adults who attended. By all accounts it was a wonderful day!’
The day itself began and ended with music. A group of Mexican drummers (both children and adults) from Lincoln City got the day off to a very energetic start. And the young St. James Santiago Strings Ensemble offered a short interactive concert just before closing worship.
During the remainder of the day, groups of children rotated through the church to experience the Circle of Seasons. Padre Beto Arciniega and Cindra Gray of St. Miguel/San Miguel in Newberg; Charissa Simmons of Trinity Cathedral; Pamela Filbert of St. Timothy’s, Salem; and Sarah Gibson of All Saints, Portland led the way with wonderful sensitivity.
Advent/Christmas/Epiphany was celebrated in the nave with a joyful Posada. Lent and Holy Week were experienced in the narthex through foot washing and with a reverent gathering before a black draped cross surrounded by stones. Easter/Pentecost was explored through the use of new Godly Play materials and the creation of colorful birthday banners. Ordinary Time, the long, green, growing season, was celebrated by planting seeds and hearing the story of Johnny Appleseed, and through the creation of vivid, green collages.
We often hear that liturgy is the work of the people. It is also the work—and the joy of our children. As the Gospel works its way into all our hearts and our hands and our feet, and as the Spirit breathes through the physicality and symbols of our worship—faith is indeed renewed.
Will our faith have children?
We have every reason to hope it will. And as we continue to gather with our children, to teach, to grow and to worship, we have every reason to believe it will. Thanks be to God!