Greetings of Thanksgiving! I pray you are well and this back-to-school fall, though unique and challenging, still brought new connections and awareness of God's presence. I'm writing to give you some updates about activities and plans in the next few months including youth group this Sunday, an Advent Lock-In with First Congregational Berkeley, the Our Whole Lives program, and Sierra Service Project dates.
This Sunday, Rev. Sandra Sanders-West will lead youth group. Rev. Sandra raised her family at Epworth, then went to seminary and has served churches in our conference before retiring earlier this year. She has background with youth (including an Epworth youth trip to France some years ago!) and a deep faith. After youth group, all youth are encouraged to stay for the "Thanksliving" coffee hour put on by the Reconciling Committee celebrating and honoring our LGBTQ siblings.
JOINT YOUTH ADVENT LOCK-IN
Epworth youth have been invited to share in an Advent Lock-In with the youth of First Congregational Berkeley (southside of campus). It's Friday, December 3, and you can find more details here!
SIERRA SERVICE PROJECT
Epworth has been given a slot for July 25-29 at the Smith River site for Sierra Service Project in 2022! We have 2 open spaces for youth. Please let me know by November 30 if you would like to go! This is a middle and high school week so all youth are eligible. The week includes working on construction and clean up projects in the area, many on the Native American land adjacent to the camp, as well as fellowship and spirit-filled activities.
OUR WHOLE LIVES
Hopefully you have received communication about Epworth's engagement in the spirituality and sexuality curriculum Our Whole Lives. This is an incredibly valuable program for youth to get clear and factual information about God's good gift of sexuality. My older son, now in college, was part of this program and I know it has helped him to make good choices and feel confident as an embodied child of God.
We'll have a parents' meeting on Zoom on December 2 at which you can meet our facilitators and ask any questions. Please contact Sarah EpworthOWL2@gmail.com for the Zoom link. We're partnering with the Unitarian Church of Berkeley on this, so group sessions will be held there on Sundays after worship (we can carpool from Epworth) with two retreats at Epworth. The program will begin late January 2022 and run through May.
I give thanks for all of you and our youth community at Epworth! Blessings to all of you, and please do reach out with any questions or feedback.
Grace and peace,