I absolutely love doing ministry in the church in this time period. Mind you, I have only a vague idea of how it worked for earlier generations. I love the feeling of connectedness and collaboration I have through the RevGals blogs, through Facebook and Twitter friends, and through the face-to-face contacts I maintain.
Several years ago, while we were still in seminary, my friend Mary turned me on to Lent Madness. There are two Episcopal priests who have turned the excitement of basketball's March Madness into a brilliant way of not only learning about the Saints during Lent, but also caring about how they move through the bracket (or not) to be awarded the Golden Halo. Last year's winner was Mary Magdalene.
While I was there in the Forward Movement booth, I nabbed a couple of official brackets for 2013 play. I also spoke with Fr Tim about how Lent Madness had inspired me to do ministry a bit different for NavajoLand this year.
Until the LM bracket of 2012, I had not realized how many Native American saints there were. They are all in the Holy Women, Holy Men book that I use for daily prayers, but they are not grouped together in any way. I was inspired by the LM bracket to use six of the Native American saints for the NavajoLand VBS that my family and I (with my home parish) do each summer. (disclaimer: I have general reservations about traveling into other communities to do "mission work" however, I believe that among the Dine population, the ministry of presence is very important.)
It was fun week with the team and Dine children all learning and being inspired by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, Mary (Molly) Brant Konwatsijayenni, Deacon David Oakerhater, The Rev Cornelius Hill, and The Rev John Johnson-Enmegohbowh. We sang "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God" each day along with other VBS songs, did crafts, and studied the Bible stories. It was a really fun week. What I hope is that the children and adults who were there were truly inspired to see how we could all aspire to be saints in God's kingdom - no matter what our heritage or life situation. I hope those children walk a bit taller knowing that there are Native American saints who have gone before them.
One of the souvenirs that St Christopher's in Bluff and St John the Baptizer in Montezuma Creek really like is when we make banners they can hang in the church for the rest of the summer. It's fun to look at previous year's banners that we have done and see how much the children have changed. Here's the banner we did for this year.
Each note is a different child or team member from one of the locations. A different but same size banner was made for the other location.
Just for reference, this is a picture with Sam, my 5'8" 17 year old.
The t-shirts had a similar musical staff motif with the Saint's pictures on them and a blank spot for the recipient to add their own face.
I brought back a t-shirt so that I could send it to the Lent Madness Supreme Council for their archives in thanksgiving for the inspiration they provided.
Today I am going to the Diocese of Texas' Clergy Conference at Camp Allen. I have heard that one of the LMSC might be there, so I am taking the t-shirt - just in case!
I love doing ministry in this connected time!!