Summer Preview Pack

Here’s a look ahead to what we’ll be learning in Heroes Gate this summer:

May 31-June 28, July 12-19: Summer curriculum begins in Heroes Gate! Preschool-5th grade will begin a new summer series called Metamorphosis in which we’ll be looking at various Proverbs and how they can help us to be “transformed” into the kind of Jesus-followers God made us to be.

July 5, 26-August 30: Preschoolers will be heading out on some “Bible Adventures” and learning how we can follow Jesus while Kindergarten-5th grade will be blasting off to join the crew of Konnect Space Station as they help kids around the world know the message of God’s love.

As 6th graders have now “graduated” into the Echo youth group, we do not have lessons for them this summer. However, if your 6th grader would like to volunteer in Heroes Gate as a Student Helper, contact Paula Bowlby at pbowlby@whchurch.org.

We are also looking for adults to volunteer with us as our regular volunteers take a break for the summer. We’d love for you to consider volunteering 4 times over the coming summer months and helping the kids of Heroes Gate to know God’s love and their place in His story! To sign up, follow this link!

Welcome to Womanhood

Continuing with the topic of milestones that Patrick’s article looked at in last week’s article, we asked Erica Hunt, one of our Emerging Generation staff members, to write up her thoughts on the topic.  We’re excited to share what she wrote with this week’s article – Enjoy!

By Erica Hunt

Sometimes our big moments of life happen against a backdrop that suits the occasion. My baptism, for example, was on a beautiful summer day in a gorgeous outdoor setting with family all around. I learned to ride a bike along a picturesque sidewalk with friends and siblings cheering me on from each side. The physical settings of these life events enhance the memories and add layers of nostalgia and comfort.

Not all life events can be this fortunate. Sometimes the landscape is more like a photo-bomb than an invited guest. It doesn’t change the significance of the event, but it doesn’t add value either, and kind of leaves a bitter aftertaste. This is the scenario of my physical passage into womanhood.

It was a bathroom stall in the Apache Mall in my hometown of Rochester, MN, about a month before school started in 1986. The most vivid detail of the scene? The white shorts I was wearing; an unfortunate wardrobe choice for this particular day. With me were my mom, my aunt visiting from Texas and her super cute son, my cousin, who I had recently learned was off limits when it came to romance. My older female cousin kindly, yet firmly filled me in on the taboos of cousin dating. She also taught me how to French braid and win at Monopoly.

She, along with many other women throughout my adolescence, modeled and taught me some of life’s important lessons about growing up. I was (and still am) grateful for them and the ways they helped ease the bumpiness of my teen years.

As a mother of three daughters, I have sought to do the same. When it came to their passage into womanhood, I wanted to take a more celebratory angle. Sure, it is a hassle, embarrassing, and terribly uncomfortable to have your period in middle and high school (and beyond, let’s be honest), but it is also an amazing signal that our bodies are working in just the way God designed. Even if my daughters got it for the first time in the equivalent of the Apache Mall bathroom stall with a cute boy waiting outside, I wanted to frame the experience as one of support, encouragement and solidarity. Something they could appreciate in hindsight, if not in the moment.

So, I threw a “Welcome to Womanhood” party for each of them. The invited guests were women that have known and supported our girls in meaningful ways for a long time. Family, friends, neighbors and former babysitters, all gathering together to say, “We’ve been there. We are here for you. We’re praying for you. You can count on us.” Each woman brought a single flower that, together, formed a bouquet of love and support for the girls to take home and remember. Many women wrote cards that have been put away into their “special boxes” with the other things they want to remember for a long time.

It felt awkward for them at first, having what they called a “period party.” But they also felt loved in a way I could have never expressed on my own. The depth and breadth of support they felt from their community of women translated into something powerfully grounding for them. Something they will need throughout their teenage years (and beyond, let’s be honest!).

Turning a Child’s Developmental Transitions into Faith Milestones

By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

It wasn’t long ago that my first child was born. My overwhelming joy and excitement upon meeting her were quickly overcome by a sudden realization that I’m a parent and we (my wife and I) were responsible for raising this little one to adulthood. It seems like each stage of a child’s development brings about an amazing amount of on-the-job training. Just when you think either you can’t take it anymore or you’ve got the kinks worked out, bam – suddenly, your child enters the next stage. Think about it: you start to wonder if you can take another night of interrupted sleep, then suddenly she is sleeping through the night, but now she has learned to crawl. From there we have a walker, then terrible twos, potty training, impulsive preschooler, kindergarten, a grade school student, homework, tests, more homework, sports, and it keeps going on and on. When she was a baby, her teen years seemed so far away and now she is 13. Another stage of development that I’m not feeling equipped to navigate as a parent.

Yet, I’ve been blessed with a great community of friends that have provided wise counsel, prayer (a lot of prayer), encouragement, constructive criticism, and directed me to great resources. One thing that seems to come up at each stage of a child’s development, besides my blood pressure, is another opportunity to help my child grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve squandered a good number of these opportunities, but one I’ve been preparing for a long time was my daughter’s 13th birthday. My wife and I decided that we wanted to equip, train, and empower her towards being an adult during adolescence. So, we decided to begin this new stage of development with a ceremony. We called it a Rite of Passage celebration. Our goals were simple: reveal the community of support and wisdom that is available to her and help her to see herself the way God (and her parents) see her.

This entailed a series of outings with various women that are involved in her life – aunts, family friends, grandmas, journey group leader from youth group, and mom. Each of these women spent quality time with my daughter and shared a specific component of wisdom related to being a woman of God. Grandpa wanted to be involved, so he took her on a date and showed her how a gentlemen should treat a young lady. We culminated these adventures with a celebration ceremony with these same women, family, and a few of her close friends. Each person described how her personality, giftings, and character shine in her life, work, and relationships. My wife and I shared how we see God’s heart working in her, and I had the opportunity to share a special blessing. We ended by worshipping together and praying for her faith and future to remain intimately connected to her Heavenly Father.

The transition to a teenager is still a challenging time for her and for us as parents, but we were able to create a milestone, a marker to remind us that God has been and will always be with our daughter. This takes some of the pressure off our shoulders and helps us to know that we aren’t parenting alone. God has surrounded our daughter with people from an early age and has been guiding her development all along.

We still are caught off guard by our kids and know that we will continue to struggle with our role as parents. Yet, this transition provided us with an incentive to mark other milestones with our younger children and to continue engaging God’s guidance and our community of friends, family, and church leaders in this journey.

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

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Compiled by Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we asked some kids a few questions about their moms.

When we asked what their moms do during the day, we found the kids seem to have a pretty good handle on their moms’ schedules:

  • “She works and teaches kids.”
  • “She works.”
  • “She sits and reads and goes to the YMCA and buys stuff.”
  • “She washes the dishes, feeds the cat, works on our food.”
  • “She makes sure the house is clean so that when Daddy comes home he can say, “Wow, the house looks good!”

We gave the kids the option to answer the next question in one of two ways: Describe a mom or tell me what you will do when you are a mom.

  • “I will stay home with my kids. Treat my kids awesome – I will be awesome.”
  • “I’m gonna be a babysitter. Where’s a babysitter store? I can work there and help doctors and other babysitters and customers. I want to be a helper.”
  • “Mommies are workers and they love babies”
  • “She reads stories to us and snuggles us and takes us places where we need to go and takes care of us.”

What is the best thing about your mom?

  • “She hugs me”
  • “Her snuggles in the morning”
  • “That she’s pretty and makes cheese tacos”
  • “She’s cute”
  • “I like her dresses, her pink dress, and the beautiful dresses and earrings and necklaces she bought me. I like playing doctor with her.”

The last question: What would you change about your mom?

  • “I wish she was taller.”
  • “I wish she would cook at a restaurant.”
  • “I wouldn’t change anything about her!!”
  • “I don’t want her to be different.”
  • “I wouldn’t want her to ever be sad”
  • “Her clothes… to dresses with snowflakes and stars and rainbow colors.”

I think we would all agree a few snowflakes, stars and rainbows would be awesome!

Moms, you are loved and valued. Thank you to all the moms out there for all you do!

Kids Singing on Stage This Sunday!

We wanted to remind you that preschool through 4th graders will be singing on stage in the main service this coming Sunday, May 10th, for Mother’s Day.  Please be sure to have your child checked into his or her classroom no later than 9:15 or 11:15 that morning to ensure he or she is able to be a part of the singing.  The kids will be singing “Every Move I Make.”  Contact Teresa at tsayles@whchurch.org if you have any questions or concerns.