Fall 2016 Updates for Parents

Dear Arden UMC Parents,

Happy End of Summer!

Whether this letter finds you still settling into school year routines, already locked into fall habits, or trying to decide which you and your family are—I pray that this time of changing seasons and patterns is filled with joy and laughter even in the midst of the challenges that any transitions bring!

As you have heard, we are also entering a time of transition here at Arden, as we draw to a close our summer ministries for children and settle back into the fall schedule. I wanted to share with you what we have been up to this summer and invite you and your children to be part of the programs starting back up this fall!

SUMMER PROGRAMS

First of all, I want to offer a hearty thanks to all who made our first-ever (or at least in a very long time) summer Sunday programs such a success this year! When we decided to continue Sunday School and Children’s Church through the summer, we had high hopes but weren’t sure what to expect. You came through as volunteers for those programs, and while numbers expectedly varied week to week, it was wonderful to see children gathered every weekend during the summer to learn about God!

In addition, you helped make this another successful and vibrant year of Vacation Bible School, with nearly 50 children participating! We offer special thanks to Doris Ann Fiddler and Wendy Martz for their coordination of all the volunteers and details!

TRANSITIONS: SEPTEMBER 4

There will be NO Children’s Church or Sunday School on September 4, as we transition our programs as well as families celebrate the Labor Day holiday. We look forward to having children in worship with us (as they will now normally be on communion Sundays).

HOMECOMING SUNDAY: SEPTEMBER 11

We hope you will join us (and invite all your friends, neighbors and family) for a wonderful celebration of Arden UMC’s past, present and future at this year’s Homecoming celebration on September 11. This will also mark the start of our fall Children’ Church and Sunday School programs (see more below).

While we will have Children’s Church that day, we want to extend a special invitation to you to consider keeping your children IN worship that day as the sermon will be replaced by a wonderful time of sharing from various members about how they came to Arden and some of their favorite church memories. We will also have wonderful music in worship that day as we are joined by a Gospel/Bluegrass band!

CHILDREN’S CHURCH
Sundays during the 10:45 a.m. Worship Service

Our exciting Agape Village Children’s Church program (for children ages 3-9) gets back to its regular schedule on September 11th with some new changes for this year. First, after a successful summer using the Family Life Center, we will be keeping Children’s Church in the Family Life Center. It has been great having the space for the kids to spread out (especially as our numbers keep growing)!

Second, we will also be continuing the practice we began over the summer of not having Children’s Church on communion Sundays (the first Sunday of each month). On those Sundays, all children are invited to remain in worship and we will be working to develop not only resources for the children to help them engage in worship, but also resources for parents to help learn ways to engage their children in worship (beyond the old-school “sit and be quiet”).

Finally, we will be coordinating our Children’s Church lessons to the same themes and stories as the children will be learning each Sunday in Sunday School. These lessons will be free-standing however, so a child who attend only one or the other will still get a complete understanding of the Bible story or character covered.

We continue to look for new persons to help as volunteer leaders or assistants for our Children’s Church programs. The curriculum is all laid out, and all supplies are provided, so leading is definitely pretty straightforward and simple!

For more information about our Children’s Church program, please contact our co-coordinators, Meredith Denton (meredith.denton.401@gmail.com) and Tara McGrew (taragibbs18@hotmail.com).

SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sundays, 9:45 a.m.

We are excited to tell you that we welcome back all our Sunday School teachers for another great year of our children learning about God!

Our regular Sunday School classes will kick off for the school year on Sunday, September 11. The classes are divided as follows:

Youth (Grades 6-12) Class, Led by Greta Ash, Leslie Stillwell and Anne Deardorff
Third-Fifth Grade Class, Led by Brittany Young and Laura Kaiser
Kindergarten-Second Grade Class,  Led by Meredith Denton and Debbie Bartley
Preschool (age 3-Pre K) Class, Led by Brenda Wroe and Erica Parello
Nursery (infant-age 2), Staffed by Samantha Martz along with volunteers

Our children’s classes will continue to use the Cokesbury Deep Blue curriculum, which leads the children through fun, informative, and life-transforming lessons from the Bible.

Our youth class will follow a series of materials through the year, and will start the year continuing their study of the book Teen Talk: Bible Stories You Should Know.

We are excited to have dozens of young people in our Sunday School classes each week, and I hope that if your children have not already been participating in our Sunday School classes, you will make the commitment as a family to join us this year for Sunday School!

Many of our parents, including my husband Chris and me, have enjoyed being part of the new Harvest Class that meets during Sunday School in the church office. We have wonderful discussions around various resources (sometimes life-application studies, other times Bible-based programs). This class is made up not only of parents of young children, but also young adults in various stages of life. We hope you will join us while your children are in their classes!

For more information about any of our Sunday School classes, please contact our Sunday School Superintendent, Erin Straley (ees96@yahoo.com).

YOUTH GROUP
Regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of Each Month

This year we are excited to embark on a new journey with our youth, those in grades 6-12, as we restart regular youth group meetings. In addition to a variety of fun special events throughout the year, our youth will meet the 1st and 3rd Sundays at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, a topical discussion and lesson led by Pastor Sarah, and a fun activity to finish off the evening! Our goal is to be done each evening by 7:30 p.m.

Our fall regular meeting dates are: September 18, October 2 & 16, November 6 & 20 and December 4 & 18.

Details about these meetings, as well as our special events, will be shared online in a special Facebook group for our youth and their parents. For more information about our youth program, or to request to be added to this Facebook group, contact Ed Tryon (etryon89@msn.com), our Youth Director.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Finally, I wanted to share some important dates you’ll want to put on your family calendars!

Trunk or Treat
Saturday, October 29, 2016
3:00 p.m.

Christmas Pageant
December, details TBA

Christmas Eve
December 24, 2016
4:00 p.m. Family Service (great for those with young children or other evening traditions)
7:00 p.m. Traditional Candlelight Service with Communion

Christmas Day (Sunday this year)
December 25, 2016
10:45 a.m. Combined Worship with Carol Sing and Blessing of the Gifts
Children and adults alike are invited to come worship in their pajamas, their Sunday best, whatever they prefer!
No 8:30 a.m. Worship, Sunday School or Children’s Church on Christmas Day.

ALL NEW Women’s Retreat
Friday, January 20—Sunday, January 22
Manidokan Camp and Retreat Center
Watch for more details on this fun, powerful and Spirit-filled weekend as women gather to connect with each other and grow in their relationship with God. We will gather Friday evening and draw the retreat to a close after lunch Sunday. More details will be available in September.

I am so excited that our family and yours will continue to study, worship and fellowship together this year at Arden United Methodist Church! If you have any question or there is any way your church family can support you or your children, please do not hesitate to let me know!

Grace and Peace.

Rev. Sarah Schlieckert