I always hate when we don't have snow for Christmas. I'm not a huge fan of winter. I hate being cold, I don't know how to skate or ski, I miss sunshine. But in December, I have tolerance. It makes my holiday when the ground is covered under a beautiful blanket of snow! I definitely got that this year! And while we weren't able to gather at church to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the celebration still happened. We still managed to gather with our family and friends to share in laughter and love and be thankful for another year together. I hope wherever you found yourself on Christmas, you were able to celebrate the greatest gift we've ever been given in the birth of our Lord.
As we start the new year, we still have lots of work to do in Youth and Family. We were blessed to have a wonderful increase in youth attendance during the end of 2022. We were able to experience the joy of a traditional Christmas program with the help of many of our youth of all ages participating and under the excellent leadership of Alison Dutkiewicz and Melinda Sheldon. Now we want to keep that momentum moving forward by continuing to share the stories of the Bible with our youth, helping them to build a base of faith strong enough to carry them through the toughest of times. Sunday School begins again on January 8th. We can always use more teachers to help share the load, so please consider being a part of that team.
We also have a really exciting opportunity this year coming from Living Water Ministries and Stony Lake Camp! They are offering a week of summer camp to any child grades 1-12 at a pay what you can rate. You can pay full price, half price, or your child can go for free! A week of camp ranges in full price from $320 to $460 depending on which program your child registers for. This is an amazing opportunity to send your child to a beautiful camp that teaches about the love of Jesus by their actions! An all-inclusive, all-affirming place where kids can feel loved, accepted, and learn about the love of Jesus so they can extend that same love to others they meet! If you'd like to learn more about this amazing program, please visit elcaliving-water.com Registration opens on January 15th and camp begins the week of June18 through August 11. Spots will go very quickly so please don't delay and miss out on this amazing camp for your child!
In addition to providing programming for our kids, we also want to look at ways we can offer some additional options for adults to get in tune with their faith. Our Spring Retreat will happen again this year. Dates to be determined still, but we look forward to spending time together sharing our experiences and encouragement in faith. We are also attempting to organize a time of fellowship and faith on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Where we can meet up at a local eatery and just get to know each other better outside of the church walls, and hopefully start to meet some people in the community as well! Stay tuned for more details as we work them out.
This church is blessed to have such a supportive congregation! I am very appreciative for everyone that gives so much to our youth and family and Christian Education programming! But there is always lots of work to be done and it always is done much better when done by a group. I hope in this new year you can find a way to plug in and share your time and talents with us while receiving so much in return. Blessings to you in this new year. May you always keep the love of Jesus in your heart and his unwavering love and faith of everyone he encountered as your example of how to love others.
Suzanne Snider, Youth and Family Coordinator Interim