children

Staff Update: Sarah Lindsay

After a brief hiatus on the blog, we’re back with more content! Today, a staff update from me, Sarah Lindsay:

It's been an exciting few months for me as I take on some new roles that allow me to extend and develop my ministry at Savior! My job as Director of Communications remains the same, but my other job title has changed from Coordinator of Children's Ministry to Coordinator of Family Ministries. Ellen Vosburg did an excellent job of developing our youth ministries last year, and Mary I and want to continue and build on her momentum. I'm extending my role on Saturday evenings from children's worship to include youth worship as well.

So what does this mean? I'll be scheduling volunteers for both children's and youth worship on Saturday evenings; I'll help with training and curriculum; and along with Mary I will support families at Savior. I will also occasionally lead youth worship — in fact, I have already spent a few weeks doing this! It has been great to get to know some of the youth at Savior a little bit better and to have another opportunity to teach an older group.

Additionally, we've hired Daniel Gonzalez to be the Assistant Youth Coordinator; he'll be attending youth group on Sunday nights and working with Fr. Andrew Unger to serve our youth. I will be working with Daniel as his supervisor as he builds relationships with the youth at Savior. I'm very excited at the chance to work with Daniel as well as the youth.

Along with expanding my role in Family Ministries, I'm also serving as the College Ministry Resident. Savior has not had a college ministry in the past, but with an increasing number of students attending, I am excited to launch college ministry at Savior. This is an experimental year as we figure out what a Savior-style college ministry looks like, but I am thrilled to come back to working with college students (my background is teaching at the college level).

One of Savior’s greatest gifts is our sense of community, and particularly our intergenerational community. Although we do have ministries aimed at particular sections of our church – men, women, youth, children and families – these ministries work to strengthen particular groups in service to the larger whole, not to divide people into sub-communities. As I work towards building a college ministry at Savior, my overarching goal is to help students find their place in our community and forge connections with others.

College students are in a unique period of life when they are navigating new responsibilities plus the pressures of career decisions and, for some, serious romantic relationships. As the college ministry intern, I will be able to walk alongside students as they go through struggles and transitions. But I also see my role as one of connection: college students can benefit enormously from the intergenerational worship and community at Savior, and I want to help students find their place at Savior (and we older folks at Savior will, at the same time, benefit from the energy and passion college students often bring).

Working with children, youth and college students will certainly stretch me. But over the last 18 months that I've been on staff at Savior, I have come to treasure the intergenerational community we enjoy. Spending time with people of all different ages and in various life situations will help me better foster intergenerational community through all of my roles at Savior.


Sarah Lindsay currently works as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Family Ministries at Savior, as well as serving as the College Ministry Resident. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.

Sarah Lindsay currently works as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Family Ministries at Savior, as well as serving as the College Ministry Resident. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.

 
 

Staff Update: Sandy Richter

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:1-5, 10-14

Over the years, I keep coming back to this passage and it’s synoptic twin in Luke 19, marveling and wondering at the connection between owning our childlikeness and receiving the gift of the kingdom of God. I find this reality both irresistible and unbelievable at the same time. While I feel myself drawn in to the simplicity of entering the kingdom as a child, it also seems audacious, impossible, and goes against every success-driven instinct within me. And then I wonder at myself. Is it hard to believe because it seems too easy, or is it that chlidlike faith actually seems like a bridge too far? Is it possible that rather than esteeming childlikeness I have, as the passage suggests, despised it instead?

Yesterday, Pray As You Go (a lectionary-based lectio divina podcast) reflecting on this passage, posed this question:

Jesus insists that God our loving Father wants no [little] one to be lost. Our world is full of ‘little ones’ – people who count for nothing, who are routinely ignored.  We also carry a child inside ourselves – the vulnerable person within. What is Jesus telling us about the way we treat fragility when we meet it?

When I heard that last question it struck me plainly how easy it is for me to despise childlikeness, fragility, especially in myself, rather than to see it as the gift Jesus claims it to be. Fragility, vulnerability, are scary. If I’m honest, I’m ashamed of those places that feel weak, powerless, unsure. But the passage made me wonder, what is Jesus’ invitation in those vulnerable places?

St. Thérèse of Liseux, who lived her short life in late 1800s northern France, described her own complicated relationship with childlike faith. On the one hand, she desperately desired to please God and to experience communion with him. At the same time, she felt her own weakness keenly, and wondered how she could even aspire to the great spiritual heights she so desired. The revelation she received from the Lord, and from that point sought to pass on to others, she described thusly:

...the elevator that would lift me up to Heaven is your arms, O Jesus! To reach perfection, I do not need to grow up. On the contrary, I need to stay little, to become more and more little. O my God, you have surpassed my expectations and I wish to sing of your mercies.

Rather than despise her weakness and limitations, Thérèse found encouragement to be reconciled to her childlikeness as that which would move her towards God and his gracious love. She found this freeing realization:

What pleases him is to see that I love my littleness and my poverty, it is the blind hope that I have in his mercy...That is my only treasure.

The image of the shepherd searching long and tirelessly for the one lost sheep comes to mind here. The Shepherd, does not despise the sheep’s waywardness, shows no signs of exasperation as he begins his search, but diligently seeks the lost sheep, sights set on the joy and happiness that will result when he finds that lost sheep and brings her home. Indeed, Jesus says, our Father in heaven is not willing that any lost sheep, lost child, would perish, but instead that each one should enter his heavenly kingdom, carried in the strong arms of the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20).

I wonder if you have ever found yourself despising your own fragility.

I wonder what might happen if we admit that we are lost, and allow ourselves to be found.

Little children, lost sheep… the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. What might it mean for us to receive this great grace today?

Quotes from St. Thérèse taken from Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love, p. 10 and 64.


Sandy Richter, Savior’s Pastor of Adult Formation, grew up in the Church of God, but gravitated toward 'higher church' settings in college, making her way to the ACNA and Church of the Savior in 2013. Sandy and her husband love the liturgy and tradition they have found in Anglicanism, and the warmth and depth of spirituality at Savior.

Sandy Richter, Savior’s Pastor of Adult Formation, grew up in the Church of God, but gravitated toward 'higher church' settings in college, making her way to the ACNA and Church of the Savior in 2013. Sandy and her husband love the liturgy and tradition they have found in Anglicanism, and the warmth and depth of spirituality at Savior.

 
 

Be My Neighbor: Ministry and Mr. Rogers

Often, when I meet a person and they ask me what I do, I tell them that I am the Pastor of Family Ministries at an Anglican church, which usually leads to the question, “What exactly does that mean?” and until recently I struggled to put into a few words what it is that I do. 

Recently I watched the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor about the life and work of Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers as most of us know him. I did not grow up in the United States, so my exposure to his television show was limited to the times we came to visit family. I remember really liking his program and loved seeing him come in, take off his coat and shoes and put on a sweater and tennis shoes. There was something so comforting about that routine. I loved the trolley, the puppets and the guests he had on his show. I don’t remember too many details about the content itself, but when I remember the show, I feel a sense of peace and happiness.

Now as an adult, and after watching the documentary, my appreciation for Mr. Rogers has grown. He truly was an advocate for children and a great resource and support for parents. He wasn’t afraid to talk about any topic with children, and he had a beautiful way of helping children navigate the uncertainties of life.  However, as I watched the documentary I was struck by the fact that he was not only that way with children, he was the same person with anyone he met. He had a gift for helping people feel safe and loved. 

As I think about my own job of Pastor of Family Ministries, I hope to be someone that helps all people feel safe and loved, but particularly children, youth and their parents. My hope is that as families come to church, they feel seen and heard. My prayer is that as parents navigate the joys and stresses of parenting, they know that they are not alone, but that a community is journeying with them. I hope that as children encounter God’s word, they have the freedom to ask questions and to wonder; and as our youth discover who God has created them to be, they feel encouraged to serve in different areas and they find adults willing to come along side them. My deepest desire is that when families come to Church of the Savior, they feel welcomed and know that they are safe and loved. 

So, next time someone asks me, “What exactly does it mean to be the Pastor of Family Ministries?” I think I will say, “It’s a little bit like being Mr. Rogers at my church.”


Mary Gonzalez is our Pastor of Family Ministries and has worked at Savior since its beginning in 2004.

Mary Gonzalez is our Pastor of Family Ministries and has worked at Savior since its beginning in 2004.

 
 

Grief Resources for Children

Savior’s Coordinator of Youth Ministries, Ellen Vosburg, has suggested some activities and resources for helping children process grief. With the death of Marilyn Stewart and the grief our church family is feeling, we hope these resources can be helpful as we talk with the children of Savior.

Suggestions:

  • Spend some time over the next weeks and months sharing memories and stories that you and your children have about Marilyn. Share with one another the ways Marilyn influenced your lives and was a friend or spiritual mother or grandmother. Talk about how important she was to who we are today, both as individual families and as a church family.

  • Read Scripture about death and the resurrection together. Good passages to read and reflect on together are Isaiah 25:6-9, John 11:1-44, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58, and Revelation 21:1-7. Observe together what God thinks about death. Be open with one another about the way death makes us feel. Notice how God promises life eternal for his disciples and remember how we will all be with God together in our resurrected bodies. Imagine together what our resurrected bodies might be like.

Resources:

  • “Talking with My Kids about Death” (Christianity Today): In this article, the author recounts how her children responded to the death of their uncle. She gives good advice about how to lean into children’s questions, wonderings, and imaginings about death.

  • “Good Grief” (Fuller Youth Institute): This article discusses how to help students grieve any loss well. The article is aimed at youth workers, but the principles would be helpful for parents, too. It discusses some tendencies we have when people are grieving that are best to avoid, and then recounts some principles of memory sharing and hopefulness that help students grieve well.

  • “The Dos and Don’ts of Talking with a Child about Death” (Psychology Today): This article provides some helpful dos and don’ts about how your child or teen might react to death and provides suggestions for how to come alongside them in your own grief.

Savior member Alice Teisan also suggests the resources found at GriefShare.