Jennifer Gates, Youth and Family Ministry Director
A Season for NonViolence, Week Ten: Becoming Peacemakers
Peace Hero: Jesus
Affirmation: I am an instrument of peace. I carry peace inside me. I share my peace with the world.
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 celebration of Season of NonViolence began in 1997 and 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 nine weeks in Youth Ministry we have explored the ideas of Dreaming, Courage, Gratitude, Service, Listening, Forgiveness, Kindness, Peace in the Midst of Conflict, and Choices. This week, we are concluding our ten-week study by exploring ways that we can be peacemakers in the world.
This week, in our Youth Ministry classrooms, our adult volunteers, children, and teens will examine and discuss stories of Jesus as a peacemaker during his time. These ideas will then be illustrated as we work in collaborative groups to build marshmallow towers – learning about teamwork and collaboration as pathways to peaceful existence. Also, be on the lookout for a document that each child and teen will bring home, the “Family Pledge of Nonviolence”, which illustrates our goal of creating peace within our families.
We will close out our time together with some creativity as we continue working on our outreach project for the residents of Pecan Hill. Children and teens will have time at the end of class to create handmade Easter cards, and our adult volunteers will remind them that the outreach project is a way of ministering to our larger community and spreading a message of peace, love & positivity. This wonderful project allows us to share our goal of being peacemakers in our local community.
Learning objective for children/teens: Children and teens will be able to identify people, places, and times that can use more peace. They will explore the ways in which each of them can bring a sense of peace to these areas, and they will understand how to integrate this sort of thinking into their everyday lives.
Unity Principles for this week:
Principle #2: I am naturally good because God’s Divinity is in me and in everyone.
Principle #3: I create my world through my thoughts and choices.
Principle #5: Every day I do my best, I give my best, and I make a difference in the world.
As always, I invite each of you to join us in our classroom 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!
Special Note: 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 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!