Children and The Church Workshops

1) Youth Empowerment and Spiritual Growth

Continue a conversation with Kung Jaadee and Martin Brokenleg  to learn about their work with youth.   How might our spiritual stories and  traditions help all young people develop belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity (the four ‘essentials’ that every child needs for healthy development).

Kung Jaadee is a Haida singer, storyteller, and drummer.  She also gives workshops on storytelling, aboriginal culture, youth empowerment, and healing.

Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Lakota, is retired Director for the VST Native Ministries Program, and  Vice-President & Co-Founder of Reclaiming Youth International.


2) Once Upon A Time…

Children’s lives are filled with stories, encountered in various ways. What is communicated to our children through the stories that they hear? What is the most important story we want our children to know? As we read, write and listen to stories together, we will reflect upon how we attend to God in stories and share the great story of God’s love with our children. (Participants are invited to bring a favourite children’s book to share.)

Melanie Calabrigo is an Anglican priest and spiritual director, with background in education, family therapy, and spiritual formation. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings, but perhaps most importantly she is a mother, sharing daily stories with her own three children.


3)  Children in Worship: Panel on Best Practices

Worship is an experience of embodiment not simply a dialogue or a time of instruction.  This workshop is organized around a panel of speakers from various traditions who offer some of their ‘best practices’ to bring the stories of our faith alive during our time with children in worship and in Sunday School.

Kirk Shields-Priddy, MDiv, MSW, has worked with children and youth for three decades. He is currently the senior clinician at the Adolescent Day Treatment Program at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Kirk leads the Children’s Ministry Team at Langley Mennonite Fellowship, where approximately 40 youngsters participate in worship, learning and service activities on a regular basis.

For the past 2 years, Kate Newman has been writing the ‘Compendium of the Church Mice’ -  a Children’s Curriculum Resource for the Anglican Church of Canada.  Currently, Kate is studying at VST and continuing to teach Fine Arts in the Elementary School. Kate has a 6 year old son and Masters in Education from UBC.

Third panelist TBA


4)  Spiritual Practices for Children

Children have a natural ability to connect with God. When cultivated through spiritual practices, children find ways to connect with their inner wisdom, to calm themselves, to open their hearts, and to commune with the  Source of their being. Spiritual practices can be an integral part of our children’s worship, our outreach to local schools and clubs, and to empowering families to bring Spirit more regularly into their home lives. You will learn the various types of practices that will engage children based on their styles and personalities.

Sophia Ducey is the Coordinator of Children, Youth, Families, and Community at Lynn Valley United Church. Sophia has served with children, youth and families in Canada, U.S., Russia and Ukraine. She has a rich spiritual life, and is passionate about cultivating this in the children, youth and adults in the congregations in which she serves.

Christina Kinch  is currently working as the Spiritual Life Coordinator at Trinity United Church and Heartwood Community Cafe.   She is passionate about helping people of all ages explore their own unique ways of connecting with the sacred.   Christina is particularly interested in how ritual and spiritual practice can support the mental and emotion of health of children, youth and families.


5) Godly Play Exposure

Godly play is an approach to using biblical story. It was developed for use with children 3-12 years and is now in use with people of all ages. There are a lot of things you can learn from a lecture, but Godly Play has to be learned from the inside out. Join us to experience a simple and exciting approach which honours the power of sacred story, imagination and Spirit.

Anne Clark is a certified Godly Play teacher and trainer and a drama specialist. She is active at Dunbar Heights UC, a retired lawyer and mother of three.

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