In our Spiritual Community, we approach children and youth a little differently from many other churches. For the most part, United Church families are healthy families. We want our church to operate like our families….every age together, enjoying, respecting and helping one another.
We have a Sunday school, the first half of most services engages our children and youth in worship with us…complete with bands, action songs, skits, etc. The children and youth enjoy worship and feel a part of it. We think that’s important. Often they leave halfway through the service and go to classes or workshops. These are provided by a talented and motivated mix of volunteers and post secondary students. The paid staff ensure that we don’t overload our wonderful volunteers and can vary the program enough to keep the experience fresh. Some Sundays we stay together for the whole service and worship interactively rather than a sermon.
We also have kind, loving people who help parents with babies and toddlers. Although we have a nursery, often the young ones stay in worship and sometimes play at the back or in the nursery if they prefer. Our goal is to support parents so they can have a meaningful worship experience and to support children so they can be engaged in worship as much as possible without becoming bored and unhappy. We keep talking with the parents, figuring this out, discovering how best to be the church together with our children.
- Safe, supportive community throughout all the stages and experiences of life.
- Stories of wisdom and inspiration from our ancestors that remind us who we are.
- Connection with a higher power, the Mystery and Magic of Creation we call God.
- Toddlers on the Move
- Early Adventure Class (ages 3 -5)
- Camp style workshops for mixed ages
- Youth Forum Leadership Group
- Welcome Madison Blackwell – Team Leader for KidSpace at Trinity
Hello parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and guardians.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself, especially to all of you who are connected to children and young people! I’m a student at Western and have been hired fulltime at Trinity this summer and part time in the fall. My goal is to use my gifts and the experience with youth in the united church to bring new life to our children’s programing as I work with you to create values based, fun space for kids here at Trinity.
As a child, I experienced the challenge of social bullying, dealt with severe anxiety and didn’t come from the most stable home life. I met my best friend at a church day camp and her family began taking me to Riverside United here in London.
Church introduced me to a community I had never experienced before. The support and confidence I gained through my participation in programs both at Riverside and in the wider church is unmatchable. With this support and the connections I made, I went on to be the first child in my family to complete high school and pursue higher education.
Amazing leadership opportunities have come my way. I became team leader of the Summer Adult Leadership Team that provides camps in churches throughout London, including Trinity (Aug. 21st to 25th). This lead to my position as the Youth Forum Coordinator for the United Church of Canada, working with 100 youth across the country. Watching the skills and confidence of children grow as they get involved in caring, happy spiritual communities thrills me.
Through conversation with the Trinity community, I have come to understand we have many families who call trinity “home”. With life being so busy, we don’t always see them on a regular basis, together as a group. But it is my experience that creating connections with other children and youth is what draws our young people into community, more than the program itself. That is what I am here to do.
I feel confident that I can create an atmosphere for good connections to be made. I just need the help of our members to bring the younger ones in your lives to test it out!
Knowing that schedules are busy, we are going to plan a service once a month and invite all parents and guardians and their children to come together for a great time together and a lunch afterwards. The adults can also have some fun getting to know one another. So if you can’t come every Sunday, try and come on our monthly Family Sunday.
Being a part of a positive, caring spiritual community has been one of the most positive experiences of my life. I want that experience for your children as my life would be very different if the church had not been part of my journey. Information on our Family Lunch Sunday and updates on Our Youth programming will be available on our Trinity Youth Facebook group. Hope to see you soon.
- A Chasing After the Wind
The search for a meaningful life is certainly a worthy goal for all of us but it can be a particularly elusive quest for young people growing up in these materialistic and often spiritually challenged times.
This year at Trinity United Church we have chosen to build our senior Sunday school program around the Paradoxical Commandments, which were first written by a 19-year-old Harvard student in 1968 as part of a youth ministry handbook. The paradoxical commandments quickly were shared between spiritual communities worldwide and translated into numerous languages. Mother Teresa thought that the paradoxical commandments were important enough that she had them posted on a sign at Shishu Bhavan, a children’s home in Calcutta.
The ten paradoxical commandments were based on an observation by their author Kent Keith that the central paradox of Christianity is that it asks its followers to act in ways that will often cause a person adversity in the secular and commercial world but which will also provide personal meaning and true happiness. Each of the commandments notes that by leading a meaningful, spiritually rewarding life, a person will likely pay a price, but that it is a price worth paying. One of the commandments is “Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.” The commandment concludes “Give the world the best you have anyway.”
The message of the paradoxical commandments is echoed in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which is about a man who through hard work and diligence acquired every material possession imaginable in third century B.C., but found that everything he had obtained ultimately was meaningless, “a chasing after the wind.” Instead, Ecclesiastes realized that true happiness and deep satisfaction come from meaningful relationships with others and by the doing of good for those in one’s community.
Recently, myself and Fanshawe student Macey Seguin, with whom I am leading the senior Sunday school program, asked the young people at Trinity to list things that they wanted and also to list things or events that had recently made them happy. Their list of current wants included a new laptop, a driver’s license, a new video game, new clothes and attendance at a professional football game, which are all reasonable requests.
But for things that had made them happy, the young people listed their recent participation in team sporting events or in charitable activities, gatherings with their friends or positive developments in their current relationships. Rather than provide the ‘moral of the story’ we asked the young people what they thought the significance of their answers had been. It did not take them long to determine that while most of the things they wanted could be bought at a store or paid for with a credit card, the things that made them truly happy were not items that can be purchased, and it was these activities and events that were actually the most meaningful in their lives.
Trinity is blessed by an amazing group of young people who take time from their busy lives to participate in our church community. They are just beginning their journeys and will no doubt face challenges and personal trials in the years ahead, but I am hopeful that their involvement in the Trinity family will help them choose life paths that while at times leading them into adversity will ultimately provide them with deeply meaningful lives and true happiness.