Remember, you are a child of God.
And God loves God's children!
How much?
Very much!
Will it stop?
Never!

This week is “Traveling Day Camp” here at FPC and our campus is alive with children laughing, learning, dancing, and growing in their faith.

Our counselors from our Presbytery’s Camp Krislund are doing great, as are our friends from Providence PCUSA and, as always, our amazing leadership team here. And the kids seemed excited to meet their new pastor this week (and her twin sons, who finally showed up this morning).

We’ve covered topics from God’s creation to God’s desire to make us new to our desire to be better. There are countless things these fifty children are learning in the midst of songs, crafts, games, bible studies, and so much more.

Something that every pastor wonders is what is the most essential message we want people to hear and how do we communicate it.

When I arrived here a month and a half ago, we added this line to the charge and benediction at the end of worship: Remember you are a child of God – And God loves God’s children. I cannot take credit for this line, as I picked it up from a colleague during a youth conference at our national PCUSA Conference Center, Montreat. But it has become an essential part of my ministry.

Here’s why: as I told the children this week, a church is a family. And every family has their own special language – key phrases or gestures that are special to them and how they live life together. Whatever else I may ever teach anyone here at FPC, from age 1 to 100, this is the message I want to make sure every single person hears. Learns. Knows, all the way into their bones.

Children, however, need to particularly know how special and important they are, in order that they can be empowered to be the people God intends them to be. So, this morning, we added a few more lines – just for them. (You can check them out above.)

Once you get to know me better you will find that I have one favorite scripture passage that beats out all the rest (though I do have a long list of favorites): I am convinced that… nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). This is the heart of the gospel. This is a message that everyone on this planet needs to hear – that they are loved. Fully. Completely. Just as they are. No matter what.

Our children need this message, but so do all of the “big kids” (i.e. grown-ups), too. So I encourage everyone to learn this benediction well and take it to heart – just as your kids are learning their own chant this week. Once we know that we are loved it is remarkable how everything else about us will fall into place.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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