IN THE WAYS OF JESUS
PRESENTERS & WORKSHOPS
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SONGS LIKE SEEDS: PLANTING HOPE NOTE BY NOTE
Sara Thomsen is a singer-songwriter and a weaver of community song. Thomsen has released six solo albums, her latest is entitled Song Like A Seed. In addition to her songwriting and solo performing, Thomsen is the founder and co-director of Echoes of Peace, a non-profit which holds a mission to inspire awareness, action and reflection on critical social issues using music and the arts to build and bridge informed, engaged and caring communities. More about Sara at www.sarathomsen.com and www.echoesofpeace.org.
Harmony happens in community! Songs sow solidarity. Songs sung with intention, like seeds planted with care, can take root in an individual or community and flower into unexpected fruits: simple joy, healing balm, increased sensitivity, awe and wonder, a re-enchanted and revitalized spirit, a grounding and centeredness, a deepening of compassion. The art and practice of community singing draws us outside of ourselves and at the same time deepens us within. Participants will experience how song builds and bridges communities, note by note, part by part, breath by breath. No previous singing or music reading experience required.
REBELLIOUS REST: SABBATH LIBERATION FOR CHURCHES, FAMILIES AND LEADERS
Rev. Kara Root
Kara Root is the Pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, which shapes its life around worship, hospitality and Sabbath rest. She’s a writer, spiritual director, workshop and retreat leader and the author of The Deepest Belonging: A Story about How God Meets Us (Fortress, 2021) and the forthcoming, The Liturgy of Living: Embracing Meaning in the Midst (2023). A recovering expert multi-talker, Sabbath is a particularly rich vehicle for the Spirit’s work of transformation in her life. She loves to read fiction, walk, bake, and take every opportunity to travel and explore the world with her kids and husband. She blogs at inthehereandnow.
When ‘busy’ is the most of our stock answer to, “How are you?” and there just isn’t enough time for everything in this fast-moving, jam-packed life, sabbath sounds like a quaint, archaic idea, or a self-care practice for a fortunate few. But sabbath is God’s powerful strategy to return human beings to our most true identity in the belonging of God. Sabbath invites us to receive our lives instead of racing through them. This workshop will explore how practicing intentional rest, individually and communally, can bring freedom to families, congregations, and leaders, and open us to a life of fullness that defies a too-full life.
YOUTH + FOOD = RADICAL BELONGING
Bridgette Weber is a current student at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities working toward an MDiv in Social Transformation. She is originally from Chilton, WI. Her ministry centers around upholding food as a sacred relationship to all life and how food can be used as a vehicle for multi-cultural social change and community repair across divisions. She has worked as a local foods chef, farmer, local food distributor, housing case manager, and was the founding president of the Oshkosh Food Cooperative. Bridgette owns Singing Bowl Chef LLC, founded the woman’s+ group Triple Moon Community, and initiated a dinner church at her seminary, Abundance: Community Potluck.
One thing we can all agree on is our need to eat! Join local foods chef and United Theological Seminary Social Transformation Mdiv student, Bridgette Weber, for her insights on how to engage youth around food as a vehicle for radical belonging and social change. Food touches our relationships to body, soil, and each other on a daily basis, and thus is a powerful intersection from which to approach the myriad social justice concerns ahead of us today. Learn how you can make social change delicious, exciting, and fresh with your youth and teams!
YOUTH GROUP COHORT MODEL: TRANSFORMING HOW WE BUILD COMMUNITY
Rev. Eli’jah Carroll
Rev. Amy Wick Moore
Rev. Eli’jah Carroll currently serves as Associate Minister of Faith Formation and Belonging at St Paul’s United Church of Christ in St Paul, MN. He first heard about Settled as he was watching the news during the quarantine months of the Pandemic and thought, ‘Hey, this would be a great way to get the youth group involved at a time where we can’t get together inside!’ Eli’jah has around a decade of experience growing and shaping the youth group experience in a way that fosters embodied faith with an emphasis on community building with God-centricity.
Rev. Amy Wick Moore has been serving at the United Church of Christ in New Brighton as Associate Minister of Ed. and Faith Formation for thirteen years. Amy most enjoys working with children and youth, to help then find their own way of expressing their faith in community life. This can include social action projects, preaching, participating in pageants, serving meals, playing, or just being present. There are countless ways to express your faith and Amy enjoys guiding children and adults on an exploration of them – especially through the intergenerational relationships that make faith communities unique.
Some of her favorite ministry projects have included an annual wilderness retreat at the end of the Gunflint Trail, Summer All Church Retreat, and now Winter Retreat, Wednesday Night Community Night, MLK Epiphany Party, Lent Event, ISAIAH youth community organizing workshop, Climate Strike at the Capitol, staffing the Anti-Racism task force, and a ny Worship Arts project.
Before her ministry at UCC New Brighton, Amy was the Director for Outdoor Ministries for the MN Conference for four years while in seminary!
Katie Johnson serves as Youth Ministry and Outreach Coordinator at Falcon Heights UCC in Falcon Heights, MN. Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical and Theological Studies and a Master of Divinity degree. Katie first experienced a calling to youth ministry when she was in her youth and has served in many varying capacities. Katie enjoys working with youth and children and appreciates that youth work now is more important than ever. Katie enjoys creating places of reconnection and belonging where youth can be their true self wholeheartedly as they ask questions, learn, and live out their faith. The Settled cohort has provided a wonderful opportunity for the young people at Falcon Heights to actively live out their faith as they build connections with other kids while building tiny homes together! In addition to serving in ministry, Katie also serves as a Personal Care Assistant at a disability organization. In her free time, Katie enjoys Zumba and being a part of Transmission Ministry’s prayer team.
Liam Magistad is the Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at Saint Anthony Park UCC. He started attending as a young child and has many fond memories of growing up at SAP UCC. He graduated from Macalester College in December of 2019. Since then, he started a small tutoring business and a digital therapy tools company with friends from college. Liam has had an interest in working with youth since he was in high school when he helped spearhead several service projects with the church. Liam is passionate about issues of housing and homelessness as well as climate justice. He loves going camping in the BWCA and other wilderness areas. He lives in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul with is partner, Lily, and two cats.
Join Rev. Eli’jah, Rev. Amy, Katie, and Liam for a workshop built around their experience coming together as a 4-church cohort to sponsor the build of a tiny home through the organization, Settled. Alone, sponsoring this would not have been possible, as it cost $35,000. But everyone should have a home! A home should not be a privilege. It should be a right! As social justice-centered faith communities, we all felt really compelled to come together to make it happen. We want to share with you what went into that, and the different ways we prepared our youth groups for this work.
LET US PLAY TO THE LORD:
WORSHIP EXPERIENCES WITH CHILDREN
Rev. Heather Roth Johnson
Rev. Jen Rome
Rev. Heather Roth Johnson is a writer, curriculum developer, liturgical Artis and blogger at storyboardingchurch.com. She loves to be creative in worship, drink coffee with church peeps on Sunday morning, and be with her incredible, funny family.
Rev. Jen Rome has 20 years of experience in bringing people of all generations to deeply experience and creatively connect with God, the world, and each other. Nationally and locally, she presents and leads workshops on cross-generational, multi-sensory, interactive faith formation for church professionals and lay leaders. She, her husband, and their two children live intergenerationally with his parents in a duplex in St Paul, MN.
We know that children belong in worship. In this workshop, participants will experience examples of cross-generational, multi-sensory story and liturgical elements for worship to engage children and adults. Participants will explore the methods the presenters use to create their own playful worship experiences.
JESUS BLESSES OUR MEANINGFUL, MEMORABLE MOMENTS
Rev. Dr. David and Gloria Anderson
Rev. Dr. David Anderson is Co-Director at Milestones Ministry and known ecumenically and internationally for his work in cross+generational faith formation and outreach. He helps develop resources, coaches leaders, and makes presentations to promote the vital partnership between home and congregation for the sake of a world in need of the good news of Jesus Christ. David has been married to Gloria for over 44 years. They have two children and six grandchildren.
Gloria M. Anderson is the Milestones Ministry Faith Formation Specialist and a retired school teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience teaching kindergarten through sixth grade. Together with her husband David, she has experienced a rich variety of milestones ministry occasions with family and friends in their home. She is very committed to helping people speak their faith out loud and to practice Christian faith in daily life.
TWO DISTINCT WORKSHOPS!
MILESTONES FOUNDATIONS TO EFFECTIVE FAITH FORMATION
Covid closures underscored the importance of cross+generational faith formation – both in-congregation and at home – and the need to bridge the two.
From gifting children Bibles in worship to household birthday parties, Milestones Ministry helps us acknowledge Christ’s presence in our relationships and hopes; offers a way to ‘be church’ in daily life; and experience precious moments as part of our faith journey. Learn the essentials of Milestones Ministry and how it can guide faith formation across generations.
FROM VISION TO IMPLEMENTATION – STEPS THAT WORK
Even congregations already utilizing Milestones Ministry can miss some of the gems it has to offer. Gain confidence in engaging cross+generational involvement, outreach, and inviting all to shepherd one another in faith, hope, and love.
THE GODLY PLAY APPROACH TO FAITH FORMATION:
Sheila Foster has been a Faith Formation leader, mentor, and trainer in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota for 35 years. With every faith community Sheila has served, there has been an opportunity to discover a new way to utilize faith formation resources to create spaces and processes to assist children, youth, and adults in their faith journeys. Godly Play has been part of Sheila’s toolbox for nearly 30 years and she is a graduate of the Jerome Berryman Godly Play trainers program at Sewanee Episcopal Seminary (2000).
Godly Play is a Montessori-inspired and unique approach to Christian education grounded in the belief that children have innate spiritual experiences and connections with God. Come and explore the process of creating spaces for children and multigenerational settings to explore their spiritual lives through story, wondering, and play. Together we will explore a Godly Play story to discover how the Godly Play approach can benefit, and possibly transform, your faith formation ministries.
Ariel Johnson is the full-time Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Lake Harriet UMC in Minneapolis, but she also does theatre work and teaches Dance Cardio classes in the Twin Cities area in her free time. Ariel has a passion for dance workouts because she loves music and doesn’t always like hitting the gym. Even a short dance cardio workout, with a mix of all genres of music, leaves her feeling great and with tons of confidence as well. She hopes you’ll join her at ConNext Summit for a simple and fun workout to get your heart pumping and boost up your confidence as we gather to do the good work of learning to be better teachers and grow in our faith.