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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Our office, along with the entire Office of Community Formation, has gone through some big changes in the past year.  One of the most obvious is the fact that our offices have changed locations. We are no longer found in the student center, but over in McPheeters. (If you are specifically looking for our office, the room number is Mc104. ) Our second big change is our name. No longer are we Family Formation. We are now Formation Ministries, as it more encompasses the work we do.  Though we do have a heart for the spouses and the children of this community, we also care for the needs of those in our community who are single, and those without children, and the name change helps reflect more accurately the work we do. Ministry is most definitely where our hearts lie.

Our childcare area also has been transformed this year. We have a new supervisor, Jeannie Bryan, and we are so excited to have her. She comes with years of experience teaching music in a preschool, so we know we will be blessed by her! We also have many new childcare workers, as well as a dozen returning workers, so we are delighted with the depth of experiences and faith that all of these young men and women will bring. We are also now sharing the space with Jessamine Gymnastics, and if you swing by there when childcare isn’t in progress, you may just see a foam pit, parallel bars, mats, balance beams, and the works, all laid out.  For those who have utilized the room in the past when childcare hasn’t been in session, you will find that it is now occupied often with gymnastics classes. (For more information about the gymnastics, please visit their website:  http://www.jessaminegymnastics.com.)

The feel and the environment of the seminary seems to alter slightly every spring as members of our community move on from this place and move out into their ministry fields. Fall changes things, as the air is electric with the excitement that only comes with the start of school. New students and new families move in, settle in, and ready themselves for what this new adventure may bring.  And we are here, ready to do what we can, to help every person feel welcomed and valued.

This week has been New Student Orientation (aka NSO) and it has been a delight to get to meet so many new people and be re-energized by their enthusiasm.  We have been blessed to meet many of the spouses during our New Couple’s Orientation, and we are so excited to see how each person will bring a new perspective and energy to what we do.  As we continue to adapt our programs to best meet the needs of those who live within the community, we also continue to learn and grow from every person here. You touch our lives, just as much (if not more) than any program or event we offer can touch yours.

Hello and Goodbye

Summer is a season of transition in this community. So many people graduate in May, and then off they go into the world, to do the work God has called them to do. The town of Wilmore seems to empty, tipped on it’s side as a flood of people transition out of the area.

And after a few weeks, new families begin to move into the empty homes, new students arrive,  there are new faces to meet.  Where there was an air of sadness before, there is now a feeling of excitement that is almost tangible. As the town is refilled with people, it is also infused with a new energy.

Because it is so filled with transition, summer can be a hard season, both for adults and children alike. The face of a neighborhood can change in a weekend, and those who stay in the community can feel alone, abandoned, isolated.  Children lose their playmates, adults lose their connections with others. There can be a sense of loneliness that is palpable.

But summer also invites in a season for rest and renewal.  Leaning into the quiet and the peace can lend itself to a new awakening of deeper spiritual practices and a new sense of self.  Without the distractions that seem so abundant during the school year, summer can be a time to connect and reconnect with the Creator on a deeper, more intimate level.  A time to be in creation and appreciate it for the beauty and joy that it stirs up in one’s soul.  A time to forge deep and lasting relationships, to truly lean in to the friendships that have begun forming, and to solidify them.

Is your summer full of transitions, full of changes? Are you weary and over-extended, emotionally worn from the day to day? Perhaps it is a holy invitation to rest, to recharge.  An invitation to spend time with the Divine and be refreshed by Him.  Take a Sabbath, or two, or perhaps a week if you are able, and rest.  Rest in whatever way brings healing and renewal to your soul.

Our team regularly prays for people in the community, those whose needs we are aware of, and those that the Lord places on our hearts. If you are in need of prayer, rest, renewal, please don’t hesitate to contact Community Formation. We will pray with you and for you.  

 

 

 

Out of the mouths of babes

This past year, our office made a goal to focus on the children of the seminary. We had it on our hearts to transform our childcare from just babysitting children to offering it as an opportunity for spiritual formation for our children.

We made a change first in staffing, and rather than hire a university student as supervisor as we had in the past, we hired a seminary spouse to be our direct supervisor. In Christina Embree, we found someone with a depth of experience in children’s ministry, as well as a heart to connect and mentor the university students that we employ.  She came to us, new to the seminary and new to the area, but with a passion for youth that we could not have anticipated, but what we had prayed for.  She jumped in at the beginning of fall semester, creating lessons, making plans, her exuberance contagious. Immediately, she connected with both the children and the workers.  During the fall semester, she wrote out lesson plans, but in the spring, we decided to buy curriculum for childcare. We chose a curriculum based on the “Jesus Storybook Bible.”

And it has been a joy to watch children connect with the Bible and how they are a part of the greater Story.  My own children have come home, and surprised us greatly with the insights they have come to during childcare.  The stories, the crafts, the games all have a purpose and a connection to the Story. As they have worked through stories of the Old Testament, they have had questions and struggled with some of the greater questions that we have all had at one time or another. God’s goodness, His sovereignty, His anger, His grace. Though my children don’t know the big seminary words that easily roll off the tongue of so many in this place, they have a depth of understanding the heart of God that we adults seem to struggle with. They accept His love so easily, so readily.

As we continue to grow in this ministry, we covet your prayers. We desire for this time that our youngest community members spend together to be formative and transformative. We want them to know and to live into the grace that is offered to all of us, to experience the love of God in new ways, and to learn what their part in the great Story is.

***Since I posted this, our staffing has changed. Christina has moved on to a full-time position in children’s ministry at a local church, and we are in the process of filling the position of supervisor. We covet your prayers over our decision, that God would bring us the right person, to continue to grow and shape this ministry. ***