I have been at a total loss of what to write to you! It feels truly like the turmoil and anxiety of this pandemic is escalating again and the response of faith communities and people in church leadership is to pivot…again! What do I say to that that hasn’t been said before or sounds too trite?
The regional council First Third Ministry team sees you working so hard to ensure the young people and their families in your community of faith feels connected and supported and loved. We see your steadying faithfulness and commitment to the church. We pray that you take care of yourself, finding times amid this chaos for rest and renewal. We pray that you feel held and encouraged in the presence of Love.
Take a look at what is being offered to support you and your loved ones during this fall season, details are below in this newsletter!
Postponements Due to Covid
Magazines for Faith@Home this Fall and Winter - Embracing Welcome; Be Love
Blessing of the Backpacks - resource
Creation Time - resources
And please let us know if you need resources or support, we are here to help you.
Note: The First Third Ministry office is closed until September 13th.
We warmly encourage all who are leaders and ministers for the First Third (children, youth, families, young adult ministry) to join us at our weekly, online leadership meetings for fellowship and collaboration. It’s a busy time as we return to worship and school, and we are so grateful that we can lean on each other's experiences and share best practices for our ministries. Please register in advance for the leaders gathering at this link: Leaders Online Gatherings
2. Postponements Due to COVID-19 4th Wave
The regional councils First Third Ministry team has unfortunate but necessary news about the situation we find ourselves in within Western Canada. As many of you know, the fourth wave of COVID-19 is in full swing, and case counts are rising exponentially across BC and Alberta. The team has discerned it's not safe or helpful to continue with our in-person events as planned for 2021.
This August and September, certain areas of BC have been ordered not to allow gatherings, including the Interior Health region which covers Kamloops. Kamloops was set to be the location of the region-wide Youth Retreat 'YouthTrek' this October; because of the orders we are postponing YouthTrek until October 2022.
Likewise, the Young Adult Retreat 'Holy Listening' was planned for September at Loon Lake Retreat Centre. This has also been postponed until March of 2022, and will take place at Springbrook Retreat Centre. More information will be sent out closer to that time.
These postponements are made not only out of an abundance of caution and uncertainty about what the future will look like, but they are also necessary in order to keep the young people, staff, members, and adherents of Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain Regional Councils safe. We are upset and disappointed, and we do what is safe, comfortable and accountable for the people that we serve.
We ARE continuing with the regional council-wide Online Confirmation Course 'FaithQuest' this fall, and look forward to connecting with people who wish to deeper their spiritual journey! Details on FaithQuest are below.
As we move toward 2022 we are hopeful and excited to see this period of deep uncertainty diminish, and we cannot wait to share space and bread and community with you all once again. We hope for a strong 2022 year of in-person programing and ministry, connecting with the hearts and minds of those around us. 2022 aims to include the in-person confirmation retreat component of FaithQuest, Holy Listening, YouthTrek, our annual Children’s Retreat, and the long-awaited return of May Retreat!
Know that you and your ministry is held in our hearts with love and care, and that the First Third Ministry team is always available through phone, email, and over social media. We continue to seek your feedback on how best we can support your local First Third Ministry, and we warmly encourage you to join the community at the weekly Leaders Online Gathering.
This is a Confirmation Program that's been developed by United Church friends at TheGoProject.ca - and we're offering it to all interested youth and their leaders in the Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain Regional Council! The FaithQuest Confirmation Journey is sponsored and hosted by the First Third Ministry team, and facilitated by TheGoProject staff, Alana Martin.
The First Third Ministry Team is holding five Online Confirmation Sessions for youth and their leaders to attend, and an in-person Confirmation Retreat in New Year 2022. Participants can expect progressive, liberal, virtually friendly confirmation lessons with videos, activities and a workbook. The 8 Lessons focus on; Who am I? Who is God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Spirit? Who are we? What are we called to do? Where do we go from here?
5 Online Confirmation Sessions
Sundays, 6:30-8pm PT / 7:30-9pm MT
September 26, October 3 & 17, November 7 & 21, 2021
1 In-Person Confirmation Retreat
$150 / person
January 2022 in BC's lower mainland
January 2022 in Okotoks AB
Communities of Faith Requirements
Pair your youth with a mentor or spiritual companion from your Community of Faith
Hold a Confirmation celebration for your youth, with your Community of Faith
Chinook Winds & Pacific Mountain First Third Ministry Team members create visually beautiful and theologically fabulous resources for church leaders -- in house. These magazines are for Leaders and Ministers to give to the children, youth and families in their communities of faith. All of the @Home resources are designed to foster faith language and Christian practices in a home setting. To order, simply tally up the number of Magazines you need based on your actual ministry numbers, add to your cart, then checkout. There are 25%-100% Discounts for Leaders to chose, if needed!
5. A Blessing, for Blessing of the Backpacks
Going back to school always brings about big feelings. Excitement and anticipation, nerves and the rest. The new grade, the new class, the new teacher, the new school, the new year on the horizon for our friends, families and communities.
As children, educators, parents and caregivers return to school this fall we wanted to let you know that we are holding all of your in thought and prayer. Returning to school during the uncertainty of a continuing pandemic, and after a year of missed birthday parties, hybrid and virtual learning, will not be easy for many. We wish to embrace all our families, learners and teachers who are returning to school this year, and wish you the very best -- so wanted to share with you this very brief blessing;
Blessed be the backpack, that most essential piece of gear,
The place where lunch is packed, and snack, snacked for the rest of this school year.
O ’Backpack, go on this epic journey, and bring gym shorts home to be washed,
Pack books, and pens, and notes from new-made friends, and keep the homework from getting squashed.
Know that this backpack and its bearer are blessed by their community
Empowered by the loving spirit; a teacher, a guide in times of great uncertainty.
Creator, our loving mentor, thank you for the gift of knowledge,
Bless this backpack and its bearer, even right-through on-to college.
Some of us receive a newsletter from Beth Baskin from the UCC, National regarding climate justice and the church’s response (email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list!). This newsletter offered upcoming learning opportunities, resources, and a reminder of key dates related to climate justice over the next few months. Some of the dates included in the newsletter might be of interest to you: