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Free Spirit Press has four timely April publications: I Calm Down (by Cheri J. Meiners, M.Ed.; illustrated by Penny Weber) offers tools for handling overwhelming emotions; Waiting Is Not Forever (by Elizabeth Verdick; illustrated by Marieka Heinlen) teaches patience and how to delay gratification; Sometimes When I’m Sad (by Deborah Serani, Psy.D.; illustrated by Kyra Teis) helps kids idntify and manage sadness and depression; and the popular Coloring Book and Reflections for Social Emotional Learning is now available in Spanish.

Kids Can Press opens doors to new neighbors with three favorites coming out in paper back: The Good Garden (written by Katie Smith Milway; illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault); One Hen (written by Katie Smith Milway; illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes); and The Red Bicycle (written by Jude Isabella; illustrated by Simone Shin).

For the pre-teen and teen crowd, author Tiffany Jewell teams up with illustrator Aurélia Durand to bring us This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

For preachers: Underground Seminary still intends to offer their Contours of Postcolonial Preaching (June 5-7, 2020) but keep an eye out for a change in format.

COVID-19 resources for all church leaders include Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s Podcast 52: Pastoral Care in the Coronavirus Crisis; each judicatory has a great page of resources: MN Annual Conference – UMC; MN Conference UCC; and The Presbyterian Church, USA and here at the Ministry Lab you can find current copyright and permissions info for worship & music and sharing books online; at-home faith formation resources; and Holy Week and beyond worship resources.

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Family-Based Sexuality Discussions

Many judicatories are urging an avoidance of intimate and/or confidential conversations on many online platforms to safeguard vulnerable individuals and maintain healthy boundaries. In our rush toward community via technology, it can be easy to lose sight of potential hazards.

The Inter-Group Association of AA for New York, Inc. offers some best practices suggestions here. Judicatories are working to create guidelines and potentially additional platforms to ensure confidentiality, safe boundaries, and general best practices. We’ll post those as soon as we get them!

To encourage at-home / family-based discussions and/or to facilitate secure online small group discussions, the following have been suggested:

Amaze has youth-, parent-, and educator-based sites including short youtube videos on a number of sexuality and gender topics, including for people with different abilities.

Sexuality for All Abilities, as the name suggests, offers resources geared toward talking with kids with different abilities on topics of dating, sexual activity, identity, marriage, and family.

Scarleteen‘s home page is all about coping with COVID-19 from the perspective of sexual and mental health for young people. They have free text, message board and live chat options for immediate help for kids suffering abuse (which is likely compounded in these stressful and isolating realities), or those feeling depressed, anxious or confused. And there are a number of links to additional resources for mental and sexual health questions.

Sex, etc. is for teens, by teens with topics ranging from talking about sex in an immigrant family to dating abuse; from abortion to pregnancy; from condoms and safer sex practices to how to talk with doctors or parents – among many others.

Kate Ott’s youtube videos cover a lot of ground from gender equity to dating to language and consent.

A Trans Faith Resource List from Austen Hartke, a bisexual, transgender Christian includes numerous links to national and regional hotlines and additional information.

Advocates for Youth is a free online sexual education curriculum that meets National Sexuality Education Standards.

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Youth & Intergenerational Resources

Fuller Youth Institute offers a 4-week curriculum on anxiety and faith for high school students.

d365 is an online daily devotion that includes leading questions that could be discussion starters.

The Ministry Lab’s Rev. Emily Meyer offers several study guides based on movies and series, including Iron Man (2008), Spider Man (2002), Messiah (Netflix, 2020), and – coming soon: movement and activity-based Frozen 2!

forma/Faith@Home shares regular/weekly RCL “lectionary-based readings and reflections”.

(SEE ALSO, “SEXUALITY DISCUSSIONS”.)

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Six New Things

In the midst of COVID-19 isolations, Jay Y. Kim‘s Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places and Things in the Digital Age (IVP) gives us reasons to look forward to an end to physical distancing.

Natasha Duquette offers a daily moment of reflection with 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (Broadleaf).

New Brunswick Theological Seminary offers a March 31, 7:00 PM (EST) live-stream discussion on Social Distancing and the Supper – Thoughts to Consider for Reformed Congregations. The zoom conversation is full, but you can still listen for important insights and ideas.

Hope4CE shares a really basic but helpful outline for creating community on zoom between elders, caring individuals, and kids and families.

d365 is an online daily devotion that includes leading questions that could be discussion starters for a youth group and forma/Faith@Home share regular/weekly RCL “lectionary-based readings and reflections” that could do the same.

And check out the newly revamped Ministry Lab website for Holy Week and Easter faith formation and worship resources curated from across the web.

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Six New Things: Friday, 03.27.20, Supplemental

Baker Publishing shares literature aimed at helping us “fight our fears”.

InSpirit, the UU Bookstore, shares poetry to soothe, inspire and offer hope.

Beaming Books offers a bunch of at-home resources for parents, including projects, books and a DVD. Leaders might share in increments, or offer the whole page to parents.

Dwell Sunday School curricula offers free downloads and sharing during social distancing. Whether you use Dwell curricula or not, they have some fun ideas.

The Upper Room offers online e-courses for small groups (one free, others half-price), meditation and prayer groups, inspiring videos and more.

Each judicatory has their own COVID-19 Response page: The MN Conference UCC, The MN Annual Conference, UMC, and the Presbytery of the Twin Cities.

Dr. Jeffrey Van Wingen, MD created a youtube video on how to bring groceries into the home safely. It’s lengthy, but he covers a lot of really helpful ground.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department offers tips on emotional well-being. There are lots of important links in this article!!

The Ministry Lab’s Emily Meyer offers several study guides based on movies and series, including Iron Man (2008), Spider Man (from 2002), Messiah (Netflix, 2020), and – coming soon: movement and activity-based Frozen 2!

Watch The Ministry Lab’s website for a curated and organized resource page; coming early next week.

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Six New Things: Thursday, 03.26.20, Supplemental

Resources for healthy conversations even in the midst of COVID-19.

Many judicatories are urging folks to avoid intimate and/or confidential conversations on most online platforms in order to protect vulnerable individuals and maintain healthy boundaries. In our rush toward community via technology, it can be easy to lose sight of potential hazards.

The Inter-Group Association of AA for New York, Inc. offers some best practices suggestions here. Judicatories are working to create guidelines and potentially additional platforms to ensure confidentiality, safe boundaries, and general best practices. We’ll post those as soon as we get them!

In the meantime – and perhaps for engagement well into the future, I give a shout-out to the UCC FourThursday Faith Formation Folks: we met to share ideas and concern and resources, and I was gifted with a ton of at-home supports for parents and kids of all ages, abilities and identities around the topic of sexuality and sexual and gender identity.

Amaze has youth-, parent-, and educator-based sites including short youtube videos on a slough of sexuality and gender topics, including for people with different abilities.

Sexuality for All Abilities, as the name suggests, offers resources geared toward talking with kids with different abilities on topics of dating, sexual activity, identity, marriage, and family.

Scarleteen‘s home page is all about coping with COVID-19 from the perspective of sexual and mental health for young people. They have free text, message board and live chat options for immediate help for kids suffering abuse (which is likely compounded in these stressful and isolating realities), or those feeling depressed, anxious or confused. And there are a number of links to additional resources for mental and sexual health questions.

Sex, etc. is for teens, by teens with topics ranging from talking about sex in an immigrant family to dating abuse; from abortion to pregnancy; from condoms and safer sex practices to how to talk with doctors or parents – among many others.

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Six New Things: Wednesday, 03.25.20, Supplemental

Michel Gribble-Dates and her daughter Joy share a youtube video of their Son Salutation from Story and Stretch.

UCC Faith Formation Leaders gather every FourThursday for networking, support and info-gathering. Sounds good, right now, yes!!?? Leaders of all stripes and backgrounds are invited to join this week in the discussion of on-line-ing church and at-home faith formation. Here’s the zoom info:

Time: Mar 26, 2020 12:00 PM (NOTE THE NOON START!!) Central Time (US and Canada)

One tap mobile:

  • +16468769923,,190948039# US (New York)
  • +13126266799,,190948039# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

  •         +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
  •         +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  •         +1 301 715 8592 US
  •         +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  •         +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
  •         +1 253 215 8782 US

Faith+Lead has posted yesterday’s Faithful Adaptations Webinar on Holy Week worship. Tomorrow’s Spiritual Care webinar can be joined by any and all.

The ELCA offers an outline for the 4th Sunday in Lent: Worship in the Home. Pastor Keith Zeh, DEM, (NWMN ELCA Synod) has created a template letter for use with your congregation on stewardship.

The Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network offers a one-hour online training with Dr. Tami DeCoteau: Tips for Educators: Supporting Parents in a Pandemic; April 2, 1:00 CST.

For individuals or families looking for some way to share or do good, Avenues for Youth share suggestions for supporting homeless youth.

Sign up to receive Shalem Institute’s Wednesday Wisdom for a day-brightener. Share with neighbors and parishioners as a gift and discussion fodder.

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Six New Things

Worries Are Not Forever and its new companion Worries Are Not Forever Board Book (both available bi-lingually in Spanish) are timely offerings from Free Spirit.

Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope (IVP) could be an excellent parent/youth at-home/small group discussion.

You could share the trailer for Materiality as Resistance: A Seven-Session Manifesto with Walter Brueggemann to spark interest in the book for a discussion group.

Nick Ripatrazone‘s Longing for an Absent God: Faith and Doubt in Great American Fiction (Broadleaf) could be interesting, on its own, and might lead to using some great American fiction in future discussions; while Laura Fabrycky‘s Keys to Bonhoeffer’s Haus: Exploring the World and Wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (also Broadleaf) might lead to deeper exploration of Bonhoeffer’s life and works.

Jonathan Catherman invites us toward self-improvement – as a whole generation! – in Becoming the Next Great Generation: Taking Our Place as Confident and Capable Adults and encourages faith formation leaders in shaping future generations in Guiding the Next Great Generation: Rethinking How Teens Become Confident and Capable Adults (both Baker Book House).

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Six New Things: Tuesday, 03.24.20, Supplemental

The PC(USA) Store has a huge list of resources for on-lining church (worship and study groups) and free downloadable faith formation for all ages: books, coloring pages, study guides, etc.

From  Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday you’ll find a daily activity for families on Sparkhouse’s Facebook and Instagram page, along with several discounted curricula adaptable to at-home faith formation.

The MN Conference UMC offers resources from Marcia McFee:

Beaming Books offers:

  • free shipping on purchases through their website. (Use code BEAMING20 at check-out.)
  • guidelines for the rights to use their books for virtual storytime and live video.
  • blogs and downloadables designed to help children learn and flourish while at home, with more on the way.

Mindful Schools shares free LIVE Mindfulness Classes for Kids (geared toward K-5) every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 – 10:30am PST. You can learn more about it here and watch their first episode

Faith+Lead has their version of this Six New Things Supplemental: all on one page. This blog shares on-lining church suggestions, this one shares stewardship ideas, and this one is on self-care for pastors (read it!!!!).

Michel Gribble-Dates has a Spring 2020 Sale on ALL Story & Stretch materials going on now (promo code “spring2020sale”) and will soon share free downloadable Story & Stretch lessons. Her Tidy Your Temple Seasonal Reset (for adults) GOES LIVE TOMORROW! REGISTER HERE.   And beginning April 1 will share FREE workshops on topics ranging from creating and using labyrinths to simple strategies to help you de-stress to Story & Stretch Q&As. 

And Shalem Institute invites everyone into Wednesday Prayer for the World (8:30 AM EST). This seems like a really good idea…

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Six New Things: Monday, 03.23.20, Supplemental

Richard Rohr continues to support us all with words of wisdom and hope.

Underground Seminary’s “In the End, the Beginning”: Climate Catastrophe, Church, and Permaculture, is now online only: Monday, March 23, 7-9pm. A zoom link will be sent to registrants, only!

Faith Inkubators offers a pdf-format Pandemic Hope: A Family Devotional for Life During COVID-19.

Our Hennepin County Library system has made an array of resources available online. This could be an excellent way to make adult, youth and kids books accessible for small group discussions and at-home faith formation.

In a similar vein: resources for your own edification or that of your congregation (again, choose any number of items on here as a small group discussion or as illustrations for faith formation groups) in Arts and Culture; Activities; Educational courses; or Health and Wellness (from counseling to basics on COVID-19 protocols).

As always, use what’s helpful or inspiring; chuck the rest!