Youth Voice Interests for April EYCs

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

With only a few EYCs left this year in April, we wanted to give youth one more opportunity to raise topics and questions for our discussions.  This past Sunday, we polled Jr EYC, and this is what we received:

What Things Don’t We Discuss at Church That We Probably Should?

  1. Stress and staying positive when we feel down
  2. How to be inclusive when there are things about other people that annoy us
  3. Things about ourselves that are good; things that others see in us that we sometimes don’t see
  4. How to deal with bullying in school
  5. Adapting to new things
  6. Loosing faith in God after a traumatic event, because he wasn’t there to help you through it
  7. How we spend our free time
  8. Our futures
  9. Dealing with failure

What Question Should We Explore Together?

  1. Why are all the set-ups of the altar different at each service?
  2. If someone is mean to you and keeps being mean to you, how are you supposed to forgive them?
  3. Why is it so easy to lose faith in God and so hard to believe?
  4. What is your favorite part of being a Christian?
  5. Is hell a real physical place?  What does it take to go, if so?
  6. What’s a good way to pray
  7. What makes you happy?

Looks like we’ll have some good discussions together in April!

Lenten Lion

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

You may have heard by now that we’ve started compiling a Youth Library in the Parish House, filled with books we hope will stir up our imaginations towards Christ.  What may surprise you is that there’s more fiction on these shelves than non-fiction.  And recently both Jr. and Sr. EYC listened to an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe that led us towards the cross of Christ.

At last [the Witch] drew near.  She stood by Aslan’s head.  Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his face looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad.  Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,

“And now, who has won?  Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor?  Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased.  But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well?  And who will take him out of my hand then?  Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his.  In that knowledge, despair and die.”


“I was hungry…”

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

There were five us, adults and youth, in the car that drove to El Buen Pastor to experience our Episcopal brothers’ and sisters’ monthly food distribution on Durham’s East side.  We arrived in the church’s basement-level Parish Hall just as they were praying for the morning’s work and for the people who would receive food (at least, I think that’s what they prayed for, but I don’t speak Spanish so I can’t say for sure).  There were about twenty of them, and half of them were high school youth.  We felt out of place – like intruders.  But they had been expecting us, graciously greeted us, and then mixed us in among them for different tasks.  Slowly but surely, we started to chat-it-up with each other: “Where do you go to school?” “Where’s your church?” “You do this every month?!”  And then a truck-load of food arrived: restaurant leftovers, grocery leftovers, and gleaned produce from farm fields. We sorted the food: fruit, vegetables, greens, staples. And then for the next hour a steady flow of folks from Durham’s East side passed through the line, each leaving with two heaping armfuls (and more!) of food.  And there was enough for everyone, and some left over still!  By the time clean-up started, we were a bit less timid and just scrubbed, carried, and stacked till the job was done.  And finally a quick debrief with our host: “How many families come through the line each month?” “What surprised you about this morning?” “When can we come back?” “Will we see you again next month?” Good question: I sure hope we come back, for our brothers and sisters of El Buen Pastor are helping us learn what it looks like to feed the hungry Christ (Matthew 25:35).  Thanks be to God!

“Blessed are you, Lord our God…”

Each Wednesday during Lent, children of Holy Family take time to reflect on the story of the Last Supper.  This week, we gave special attention to Luke’s description of Jesus as he gave thanks for the bread and cup.  Luke’s words were familiar to us:

“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves…

“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them…”

Jesus — it turns out — was in the habit of giving thanks for all kinds of God’s gifts, even ordinary gifts like bread and wine.   It is so easy to forget to give thanks!  We took time to practice offering  prayers of thanks for ordinary gifts.  We tried out words that Jesus himself may have used.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

On waking up:  Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who opens the eyes of the blind.

Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, through Whose word everything comes into being.

And we thought up a few of our own…

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you have given me a sister.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made the sun to give light to the world.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made wolves.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made special flowers and roses.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you gave me my mom.”

Can you add to our list of thanksgivings?