Our kids have started school, teachers are plugging away at their lesson plans, and little by little the city’s canopies are turning to crimson and rusted hues, but this year little about these ordinary Fall passages has been ordinary. And while St. Luke’s Council laments not gathering in the usual ways—especially for missing out on the joy of gathering our kids together to begin a new Sunday School year—we extend our thanksgiving this month to our Children’s Minister, Carmen Kingsley.
In many ways, Carmen’s ministry has provided agile responses, creative structure, and compassionate care to reimagining children’s ministry during a pandemic. During this Season of Creation, Carmen provided four intergenerational mini-retreats that connected families together in safe yet meaningful ways, reflecting upon biblical themes in the elements of wilderness, rivers, forests, and land. Earlier this summer, as many families felt the pain of not being able to visit other families in person and thirsted for opportunities to chat, laugh, and play together, Carmen found meaningful ways to visit us in outdoor spaces near our homes, such as offering bubble painting, reflection on scripture, and helped form a Happiness committee.
Another dimension to Carmen’s ministry for which Council gives thanks is her skill at attending to the people who care for children: especially parents, teachers, and family members alike. Even before the pandemic, Carmen’s dedication and support of Sunday School teachers was recognized as highly valuable—and even more so now as Sunday School continues to adapt to online platform. Her ability to genuinely listen to our children, foster creative expression, and teach us the wisdom of play has provided our congregation much needed sources of joy amid such complex and trying times.