To the community of St. Laurence,
It's my first day as your new Youth and Families Ministry Coordinator, so I just wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself! While I've had the privilege of meeting many of you over my last two years as a youth leader, consider this a more "official" introduction...
I'm Jason Wood, married to Anna Wood. Together we recently moved to Coquitlam from Vancouver, where we lived the last ten years, living and working in the Downtown Eastside and Strathcona. There we participated in the Servants Vancouver community, practicing radical hospitality alongside our marginalized neighbours. I also worked 8+ years urban farming with both Sole Food and Red Clover Farms and organized for climate justice with faith-based network Earthkeepers.
For the last several years, I have been an M. Div. student at Vancouver School of Theology, and I am currently a postulant for ordination to the priesthood. I love making music and writing songs, walking outdoors, reading, wearing plaid shirts, playing Zelda, finishing puzzles, and eating ice cream, among other things. Anna and I are also expecting our first child this January!
I am humbled and delighted to be entrusted with this new role. Over the last year, I've felt my heart deepen and vision expand for the young people and families in our midst, and so in many ways this feels like a natural next step.
At the same time, I'm also aware how much I have to learn, and so I'm excited to discover together with you what it might mean to cultivate flourishing children's, youth, and family ministry.
...Of course, we do all this in the midst of a pandemic! While I would never have chosen to do this work in such circumstances, here we are.
And so I want to thank you, St. Laurence family:
It takes courage and vision to invest in ministry with young people at a time when so many churches are cutting their ministry budgets in desperate efforts to stay afloat. Ministry in these times is not going to be easy, and it's not going to look like what it has been. But by investing in this role and in the young people and families among us, you are showing how important they are to you.
We can and will find new practices, experiment with new ideas, and build new systems along the way - but it's that sort of commitment that will undergird this work and enable us to cultivate creative, flourishing, and sustainable ministries for the long haul.
So what's first? Over the next few weeks, I'll be reaching out to the families with children and youth in our congregation, getting to know you more and developing my sense of how we can serve and support you in the days ahead. To that end, we'll be organizing a small blessing of the backpacks gathering for families with children on Sunday, September 13th. Stay tuned.
I'll also be connecting with youth and children's ministry leaders in order to listen, learn, and explore how God might be calling us to respond to the opportunities and needs before us. How might the Spirit be moving among us, our communities, and in the world around us?
It will take time and plenty of mistakes to figure out how to do ministry well in these times! But our children, our youth, and our families are worth the effort. The Living God is passionate about them and their flourishing, and we are invited to join in that passion.
So let's get started!
Youth and Families Ministry Coordinator
St. Laurence Anglican Church
E-mail: [email protected]