How do you know when you’re no longer a child and have grown into a new stage of life?
Cultures throughout time have had various rites of passage that have marked this transition, and at Columbus Mennonite we are beginning a Coming of Age practice of our own, to be celebrated during worship on Sunday, February 16th. This year we honor six jr. youth: Quinn B, Steven A, Micah N, Jack Z, Phoebe Y-T, and Maddy R-W. The jr. youth will be preparing for this time by helping shape and lead part of the worship service: choosing a scripture, hymns, and words that reflect their own journeys to this point. They are also personalizing notebooks that will be filled by the congregation with blessings, words of encouragement, and naming of their gifts.
This is where you come in.
Between now and mid-February we will be collecting notes from Columbus Menno folks – you! – addressed to these jr. youth. Having these notes is a significant part of their Coming of Age experience as they represent the voices of their community blessing them and calling out their gifts – gifts they may not yet be able to see in themselves but which are becoming evident to those of us who relate with them. Gifts they will continue to nurture and develop as they cross the threshold into adolescence and form a more solid sense of their own identity. There are many voices in this world telling them who they should be, what they should desire, what they should buy, what it means to belong, how they should live; and it is the privilege of us as a faith community to be a wise and spiritually grounded presence and voice in their lives on these kinds of matters.
So here’s what we are inviting you to do:
Compose a several-sentence note to each of these jr. youth. These notes can be blessings, a brief personal and meaningful memory from when you were their age, encouragements, a Bible verse and what it has meant to you, attributes you have observed that you admire in the young person, your best hopes for the young person, or a naming of their gifts. Not everyone will know the jr. youth well enough to write a personalized note, but all who wish to write something are most welcome. These notes will be compiled and arranged in their notebooks, presented to them during the Coming of Age service February 16th.
Everyone will have slips of paper in their church mail boxes on which they can write the notes, returned to either Ruth L or Jenny C by February 9th. Words can also be emailed. (Ruth and Jenny will print and paste!)
This is a new endeavor the congregation and we’re creating something we hope will grow to be a formative experience for all of our young people – something to anticipate, something to undergo, something to remember. Coming of Age!