By Dianne Ross, Minister to Children and Families
Ministering with children and families these past 35 years has been an amazing journey filled with delight and unexpected joy. When I entered (and left) seminary I was convinced I would never work with children, but rather would be a youth director my whole life! I am thankful that God showed up early on in unexpected ways to redirect my path.
Throughout these years in Children and Family Ministries (CFM), and particularly in the last 17 here at Bethany, I’ve found deep satisfaction in being able to serve children and families here at Bethany and beyond. This church is abundantly blessed with gifted CFM leaders. Many of you have been instrumental working with me as we’ve opened up spaces and places for our Bethany children and families to be partners with local and global ministries and churches to bring “God’s Kingdom to earth”. Whether it was a mission trip to a Mexican orphanage, a weekend at Tiera Nueva (which always includes putting on a carnival, and learning from the folks at TN), making “Promise Packs for Syrian refugee children, to putting together meals in assembly line fashion in fellowship hall that will ultimately feed thousands of people in Sudan, watching our kids catch a vision for serving others has been deeply meaningful.
Many Bethany members have also partnered with me in offering workshops and trainings in children’s ministries. Without your partnership I would not have been able to help so many churches learn how to start Godly Play, Milestone units, Vacation Bible Camp, Families Serving Together ministry or to develop more “teams” in their children/family ministry. Whenever I have the privilege of teaching the Children’s Ministry class at SPU about 15 Bethany parents and leaders come and share their wisdom and expertise. The students love you “people in the trenches”! Bethany is definitely a “teaching church”.
You’ve also welcomed our many CFM interns (over 35 in the last 17 years!) into your homes and hearts. These gifted and passionate young adults have been formed thru these relationships with you, and especially with your children. Here is an update on just four ofmy past SPU students that became Bethany Pres interns:
Samantha Fisher – working with At Risk youth and children in Costa Rica
Jenny Cade – teaching first graders M-F in Bozeman, then is overseeing a Godly Play ministry at her local Presbyterian Church, which she started from scratch and is now booming with kids and leaders
Nicole Gehlbach – tutors at risk Hispanic children in Chula Vista, CA
Jordan Conrad – is the Associate Children’s Ministry director at Bethany Community North
Recently the Lord has been tugging at my heart to invest even more deeply in these young adult CFM ministry leaders and with leaders at smaller churches without children’s ministry staff, and organizations that serve people on the margins (Such as Tierra Nueva). Often these organizations lack the resources to meet the needs of Children and families. Therefore, beginning April 1, 2017 I will reduce my hours from 40 per week to 32. I will use these 8 hours each week (Tuesdays) to focus on extending the ministry of Bethany to those beyond our walls: both right here in Seattle and beyond; and to mentor young CFM leaders. We at BPC have many resources to share and I’m incredibly thankful that so many of you are willing to partner with me as we share our time and resources with others. It’s truly blessed Kingdom work.
The personnel committee, Pastor Doug and Session are very excited and supportive of this new chapter. The Personnel team approved the hiring of a new 8 hour week person to fill the roles of my reduction of Hours. The new job is “Program coordinator: Event Planning and Volunteer Recruitment”. Click on the Link to see the job description, and/or to complete an application.
These applications are due by March 15, and the top three candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday March 21.
For further information, or if you have questions please contact me at DianneR@bethanypc.org.