The sun is still not spending much time with us, and we are entering what are typically the coldest months of the year. This is a good time for softness and rest. For a while now, I have followed a movement called “The Nap Ministry,” and more recently, I began reading a book that came out of that movement titled Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey.
Though I am not yet too far into it, I do recommend the read, but I have a note for those who are white (like me): the movement has developed in a very particular context in which descendants of enslaved people are prioritizing rest as a claim to liberation. Not everything is for us, and at the least, there are different things we must do to move toward liberatory futures.
Nonetheless, I feel moved to share an excerpt from the Introduction: “[S]ince birth we slowly are indoctrinated into the cult of urgency and disconnection via white supremacy culture . . . . I am clearly stating that to center rest, naps, sleep, slowing down, and leisure in a capitalist, white supremacist, ableist, patriarchal world is to live as an outlier, a pilgrimage infused with softness, intentionality, and community care.” The book talks about rest as something that makes us more human.
As I read, I find myself thinking of a comment made at the last Common Council meeting, about families with children feeling overwhelmed, overly busy, and tired. What happens spiritually to families who don’t have their needs for rest and leisure met? Do they lose touch with something about their humanity? These reflections inspire me to imagine forms of ministry in the future of this congregation that “center rest, naps, sleep, slowing down, and leisure” and that are infused with “softness, intentionality, and community care.”
This is not necessarily a future filled with programs and activities designed to maximize a feeling of educational productivity. This notion of what we “center” (our productive capacity vs. leisure and play, for instance) can be useful as we discern the ministry needs of families in the greater Danbury Community and consider how to create a future in which we minister to those families. Soon, we will convene some conversations about the future of Religious Education for children and youth in this congregation. It will be useful to consider what is happening spiritually in the lives of children and their adults, and what we need to “center” to tend to these humans.
Warmly in Faith,
Current Religious Education Programs for Children and Youth
This month we are adding two Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education programs to our offerings! Participating youth must commit to attending every session in order to participate. The 7th-8th grade OWL program will take place Sunday evenings, and the high school program will take place Sunday mornings. For younger children attending on Sunday mornings when there is regular programming, there are multiple options:
- Attend service with your adults
- Come to our Forest School-inspired, child-led program in which we explore spiritual themes through play
- Attend nursery care (for our youngest children)