youth

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.

 
 

Youth Mission Trip Update

IMG_0933.jpg

This August, I went on a weeklong mission trip to the Edgewater community in Chicago. Since the youth group had gone there a couple times already, we generally knew what to expect from the week. We did work at familiar locations, including when we sorted donations and served food at Cornerstone Community Outreach and when we handed out food at the Care for Real food pantry. We also revisited the men’s shelter we had gone to two years ago and the women’s shelter we served last year. The fact that we had experience with all these locations meant that we were often able to jump right into service, since most of us already knew the routine.

IMG_0970.JPG

There were a few new locations that we worked at, all of which were more about interacting with people than it was about fulfilling tasks. The first of which was a senior home where we talked with elderly people and played games with them. The second was a facility called Lighthouse, which houses and cares for those who are mentally handicapped. There we sang songs and prayed in what was basically a mini worship session. Lastly, we went to a facility that housed seniors with memory disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s. The group spent time with them, interacting with them and keeping them company for the afternoon. While we often didn’t stay at these locations for extended periods of time, we did brighten the days of a good number of people.

Since I’m not particularly socially oriented, I often relegated myself to manual labor. And while I don’t mind that, I do wish I had taken more opportunities to do social work. For instance, when we went to the facility for seniors with mental disorders, I ended up doing yard work instead of interacting with the seniors for most of our stay. But looking back, I think it was for the best that I undertook roles like these. Even though the manual labor did feel menial at times, it still had to be done by someone. My fulfillment of that role allowed those who haven’t been on previous mission trips to have a more meaningful experience. 

As a whole, I think the mission trip went well. Yes, there were some areas where I wish I had done more. But our mission was to serve the community and show it God’s love, and I believe we did that in full. I can be satisfied with that.

IMG_0977.JPG

Josiah Hsu

Josiah Hsu

 
 

Youth Ministry Update

Thrift Shop Prom

Thrift Shop Prom

This summer has been fun and eventful for our youth group. We haven’t been meeting weekly, but we’ve gathered several times to enjoy one another’s company and the freedom of summer. We kicked the summer off—and welcomed our new sixth graders—with a Thrift Shop Prom. For this event, students were asked to find a colorful and creative costume at a thrift shop. We then proceeded to play games and dance the night away! We had a lot of fun, and the students took their outfits seriously. They looked great!

Our second event of the summer was our All Nighter. We began the evening with dinner at Portillo’s and entertainment at the Sycamore Speedway. We watched lots of races, and they concluded the evening’s festivities with a demolition derby. We returned to All Souls for prayer at midnight, 3am, and 6am. Between times of communal prayer, we played games and watched a movie. It was crazy, but once again, we had a lot of fun being together. In July, we gathered to have pizza and play board games, and next week, we’re gathering to play more games (not the board kind) and eat more pizza (we’d love to see our students there! July 24, 6-9pm, at PHCC).

Some students from our youth group are headed for a mission trip in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood in early August. Josiah Hsu is still selling prayer cards! Please pray for all our students that they will have a good and safe experience and that they encounter the presence of God in the people they meet.

In my role as Youth Coordinator this year, it’s been my main goal to identify and begin to develop a unique identity for Savior’s youth ministry. I’ve spent most of my time getting to know our students and their families, adding more organization to our ministry, and developing communication and visibility for the youth ministry. Our youth ministry is growing, and we want our ministry for students and families to connect to and sync with everything we do at Savior. Our students are not the future of the church, they are an important part of the church right now, and we want to encourage them as much as we can as they grow and mature in faith. God began a good work in our youth ministry long before me, and as I prepare to pass this role back to Mary (and whoever comes after me), I am confident that God will continue to be faithful to our students and their leaders.

Andrew and I have spent the summer brainstorming new ideas for youth group in the fall, choosing new curriculum for our Saturday evening Youth Worship meeting, and dreaming about what the future of youth ministry at Savior could be. We’re hoping to spend more time in the coming ministry year helping students practice spiritual disciplines, developing a communal rule of life, and continuing to teach our students how to love Jesus with their heads, hearts, and hands. We’re also hoping to recruit a few new leaders from Savior to lead our students, so if you sense that God is calling you to a new season of serving our students, please, let Mary or me know (I promise that we only stay up all night one night a year).

Finally, as we look toward the new ministry year, I will be sad to be missing it. It’s been an honor and a joy to serve the junior high and high school students, and their families, of Church of the Savior (and All Souls). My husband, Dawson, and I will be moving to Columbus, Ohio, at the beginning of August so that Dawson can begin working on his PhD in Sociology at Ohio State University. We have absolutely loved our time at Savior, and we will miss you all greatly. Thank you so much for welcoming us enthusiastically and trusting me readily to minister to your teenagers. I know that God has a wonderful plan for the youth at Savior, and I anticipate that this ministry will continue to grow and flourish.


Ellen works at Savior as the Youth Coordinator. She is also an Editor of Bibles & Reference at Tyndale House Publishers; she has worked there since 2014. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of youth ministries over the past decade and she began attending Savior in 2017.

Ellen works at Savior as the Youth Coordinator. She is also an Editor of Bibles & Reference at Tyndale House Publishers; she has worked there since 2014. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of youth ministries over the past decade and she began attending Savior in 2017.

 
 

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.

 
 

Meet Ellen Vosburg, Youth Ministry Coordinator & Ministry Intern

22792417_10215094899752871_1936733166603331737_o.jpg

Ellen Vosburg began working for Church of the Savior as our Youth Ministry Coordinator on August 1st, and she also serves as Savior's Ministry Intern (2018-19). As Ellen begins her work on staff, she answered some questions so we can get to know her better.

Where do you live and where are you from?
I live in downtown Elmhurst with my husband, Dawson, and miniature schnauzer, Andromeda (or Drom). I am from rural Oklahoma, where I played tuba in the marching band my junior year of high school.

What do you do when you’re not at church?
I love to read, and I expend most of my mental energy angling for ways to spend more time reading books. My husband and I enjoy cooking together and finding fun new places to eat. We also spend a lot of time with family and friends; we like to play games and eat ice cream together.

What's the best book you read during the last 5 years?
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov. This is the first and only book I’ve read by Nabokov, and I was expecting to hate it, but I absolutely loved it. Nabokov’s creative command and deployment of the English language is gripping, and I found myself weeping over the circumstances of the main character at the climax of the book (which is rare for me).  

What's your favorite quote?
"If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me." — W.H. Auden
 
How does youth ministry connect to the life of the whole congregation?
The spiritual formation of young people is vital to the life of the church, not simply for the future but for our present life together. I think teenagers who love Jesus and have a strong conviction for serving the world through the church can inject any congregation with an extra special gift of passion. They’re an important part of what it means for us to all be part of the family of God, and it’s a privilege to participate in this time in their growth. 

How can people get involved in youth ministry?
Tell me you love teenagers, and I’m sure there would be a place for you! Young people need all kinds of adults to surround them and invest in their faith, so there are a myriad of ways to be part of youth ministry, no matter who you are or what you are particularly gifted to do.