Does anybody listen to kids? The ELCA does. In March, 80 people — children, pastors and ELCA staff — met at the churchwide office in Chicago for the first ELCA Children's Ministry In-House Consultation.
In a room decorated with kites and pictures of children from around the world, participants took part in conversations and activities. Listening to kids and finding out what they think about the church will help the ELCA develop ways to minister among children and families.
Through a video presentation, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson welcomed participants. He was joined by Cynthia Berry-Bailey, 10; Mayra Dumke, 11; and Anna Duran, 11, who told about the importance of church in their lives.
The event included a drama called Once Upon a Pew, which told about one child inviting another to church. Through group activities, adults and kids shared first memories and impressions of the church. In small groups, the adults discussed children's ministries while the kids talked and worked on crafts.
So does anybody listen to kids? "The whole reason we're here is for the children" and "how to bring children into the life of the ELCA," said Steven R. Meysing, a participant and then pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wheaton, Ill.
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