A Season for NonViolence, Jennifer Gates Cooperative Youth and Family Ministry Director
Week Five: Listening
Featuring Peace Hero, Mother Teresa
I am present. I listen to God. I trust my inner wisdom. I hear what others need.
A Season of NonViolence is an international movement dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. It is observed annually during the 64 days between the assassination anniversaries of peacemakers Mahatma Gandhi on January 30 and Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4. The observance of the Season of NonViolence began in 1997 and it is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. During this 10-week period, we will be learning about the lives of four peace heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; St. (Mother) Teresa; Jesus; and others who directly influenced the work of these individuals.
Over the past 4 weeks in Youth Ministry we have explored the ideas of Dreaming, Courage, Gratitude, and Service. This week, we are continuing on this path of understanding what it means to be a peacemaker in the world as we talk about Listening. Children and teens will learn about the characteristics of being an effective, active listener when engaged with others in their lives, and they will learn about the importance of listening for the guidance of the Divine and one’s own inner wisdom through the practice of Meditation.
Learning objective for children/teens: Children and teens will be able to identify what the words “listening” and “meditation” mean. They will begin to understand how they can quiet their minds for meditation and how they can listen attentively to others. They will demonstrate their listening skills in class activities. Being a good listener will help them make a positive impact on the world around them – at home, school, church, etc.
Unity Principles for this week:
Through affirmative prayer and meditation, I connect with God and bring out the good in my life.
We also have some other news from our Youth Ministry classrooms to share with you. Over the past week, the youth ministry class spaces have been switched around a bit to accommodate the current youth roster within the class space that we have. Ours is a dynamic and changing ministry and, as such, we strive to use our resources – both people and spaces – to the best of our ability. I would encourage the adults in our UCSA CommUNITY to be supportive of our youth and our program as we make necessary tweaks along the way. Our primary goal at all times is to provide an engaging, supportive environment in which our children and teens are allowed to grow in their spiritual pursuits.
As always, I invite each of you to join us in our classrooms on a Sunday morning. You may just find that your spiritual life is enriched by the lessons we are sharing. And, remember, volunteers for our Youth Ministry team are welcomed with open arms! Call me to learn more about supporting this important area of our ministry!
Our UniTeen and YOU classes are planning an outreach project during the Easter season for our friends at Pecan Hill. Many of you may be familiar with our Christmas Sharing Party which we host each year on the Pecan Hill campus, just down the street from UCSA on Lawndale. Pecan Hill is a small senior living facility for residents 62+ who are living on a fixed income. Our outreach to these neighbors is one of the many ways we live our core values of Joy, Abundance, Love, Transformation and Inclusiveness. New this year, our children and teens will be crafting homemade Easter cards for the residents of Pecan Hill. I am moved by the compassion and enthusiasm of our youth ministry participants! When you see our children and teens around UCSA, feel free to show your gratitude for their hearts of service as well!