Last Maundy Thursday and Good Friday were busy ones for the Children, Youth and Families Minister. Here is a short glimpse into the 24 hours that was spent with the Children, Youth and Families both from here and across the Diocese, at the Cathedral.
Lauren Odile Pinkney joined by Rev. Jessica Schaap had been working hard on the “Watch” sleep-over event for the last few months. Originally created by Judy Steers and Lauren, back when she was at St. Albans in Burnaby, this event has always been close to Lauren's heart and had become annually one of the most popular youth events across the Diocese.
The core purpose of this sleepover is to keep “the watch” with inspiration taken from Matthew’s Gospel:
“Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?’” (Matthew 26:40)
As a DYM (Diocesan Youth Movement) event, youth from across the Diocese join the congregation for a night and go through the motions of the beginning of the Eastertide Triduum. The evening began with youth joining us for the Maundy Thursday service here at the Cathedral, where they learn all about what the service means and the symbolism of different parts of the liturgy.
Following the service, youth gathered in the Parish Hall for ice-breaker games, community time, and some snacks. This year we were so pleased to welcome Bishop John Stephens to a special question and answer session with the youth of the Diocese, where we learned everything from how someone becomes a Bishop to what a mitre is. This led us this year to a hilarious and educational game where the youth got to re-design the mitre and Bishop John even modeled them for us.
After this youth then went upstairs to the Cathedral nave, where, over the course of an hour the youth had time to get creative and reflective with contemplative prayer stations designed by Lauren (found here). These prayer stations gave youth the chance to focus their prayers themed around the various parts of the Easter story. After prayer time, Rev. Cameron Gutjahr and Rev. Jonathan Pinkney played a small trick on the youth where they made them believe they were going to have to sit through an hour-long lecture when actually the youth would have the rare opportunity to have a small dance party in the Cathedral space (known fondly as the Rave in the Nave).
With a big thanks to the Cathedral buildings team, a rainbow light show was created with a short dance playlist, and for about 15 minutes the youth danced together for the first time since before the pandemic. Though a little hesitant at first, they were soon showing off their moves-which was a light-hearted way to bring everyone's energy back up for the rest of the evening's festivities.
What else can you do in the Cathedral after prayer and dancing, but of course explore the space! We then had a few rounds of hide and seek in the Cathedral, giving the youth a rare opportunity to explore and get to know the space, finding good nooks and crannies for hiding. We then had a snack downstairs in the parish hall before proceeding to the last part of the evening which was setting up our sleeping spots in the cathedral and watching a movie.
After not nearly enough sleep, the sun began streaming in through the cathedral windows and of course, it was time to pack up and eat breakfast together. We had 23 at the sleepover which was a great number considering it was our first sleepover since before the pandemic and many of the youth are new to Cathedral and Diocesan programming.
We are excited about the prospect of the upcoming events over the next year and building a good safe, core community of young people for years to come. A huge thank you to Bishop John Stephens, Rev. Jessica Schaap, Rev. Jonathan Pinkney, Rev. Helen Dunn, Matthew Stephens, and Rev. Cameron Gutahr for disturbing their sleep and Holy Week commitments to make this such a special and fun-packed evening for the youth of the Diocese!
The day was not over of course, for our Cathedral team, as after only a couple of hours of sleep, the Good Friday family service also needed setting up and running. With a large coffee in hand and help from Rev. Jessica Schaap, Jane Dittrich, Sarah Nation, and Mark and Jennifer Haylk, a lovely morning was had by the families from the Cathedral.
A few weeks prior to the service Lauren and Sarah had been dreaming up the idea of an Easter Garden, and with a lot of gardening help and guidance from Sarah, we purchased the plants, trays, and items necessary to build three small Easter Gardens. These would be part of the Altar Guild’s magnificent Easter display on Sunday morning. The three gardens would hold small peg dolls that would be created by the children and families to help tell the Easter story and were themed around 3 keys locations of the Easter story, Golgotha, where Jesus died, the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, and the tomb where Jesus was buried and raised.
The service, led by Rev. Jessica, began with morning prayer liturgy and included an action psalm (written by Lauren and linked here) and a Godly Play story, on the “Mystery of Easter” (fondly known as “Minecraft” Jesus by the children at the Cathedral). After the storytime, the children got to participate in the same stations used for the youth at the sleepover event, but also featured special arts and crafts and coloring as well as the two activities of building the Easter Gardens and creating the peg people.
It was such a blessing to see even the smallest of children, playing with the soil, rocks, and wood chip to create the Easter gardens, and children big and small learning from Sarah Nation all about how to plant and tease roots to help plants grow well. The gardens when completed were blessed by Rev. Jessica to close the service. The service really combined joy, learning, worship, and creativity to make for a great head start to the Easter weekend and it really lead beautifully to the Children’s talk on Easter Sunday.
The gardens were then presented to the wider congregation and the peg people were hidden in eggs with parts of the Easter story written out (and some chocolate) for the children to find on Easter morning. The Easter Sunday 10:30 am service was such a special experience, and many shared how touched they were to hear the children reading and participating in the Easter story.
The Children, Youth, and Families Ministry (CYF) at the Cathedral is now beginning to grow and thrive after being put on a hold a little through the pandemic, we are so excited for special services, events, and programming yet to come, and if you would like to find out more about is going on, click here to sign up for the CYF newsletter at the Cathedral.