Education & Youth Team 2021 Annual Report
Throughout 2021, the Education & Youth Team has continued to adapt and find creative ways to connect with our children, youth, and families to ensure quality educational opportunities over the course of the ongoing pandemic.
In addition to the challenges presented by the pandemic, 2021 also brought further changes to the leadership of our team. After faithfully serving in the role of Youth Director, Drew Swanson resigned from his position in Feb 2021. The search for his replacement is ongoing. Despite these obstacles, there were a number of areas of success this year:
The beginning of 2021 started off with children continuing with Sunday School at home with their families, utilizing Sparkhouse’s digital curriculum Faith at Home. As Good Shepherd returned to in-person worship in the spring, in-person Education activities were also able to resume: The annual Palm Sunday Easter Egg hunt returned, First Communion instruction took place in March, and in-person Family Sunday School was offered in April and May.
With the beginning of the new school year, we returned to our traditional Sunday School format, with children returning to their classrooms, and one Sunday a month serving as All Kids Sunday, where all grades meet together for the lesson and activities. The school year once again kicked off with God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday, with the students able to participate in a number of volunteer activities. September also brought Bible Sunday, with Bibles gifted to students in 4K, 3rd grade, and 7th grade. In October we hosted a Trunk or Treat event outside at GSLC. It was an expanded event this year, with our Cub Scout pack also participating. In December we were once again able to put on a Sunday School Christmas program. Students presented the program “One Night in Bethlehem” during worship service, with members of the choir joining them to present a new song.
Overall, Sunday mornings in the Education wing have returned to a place of energy and excitement. We have been blessed to have three new families join the Sunday School program this year. As we head into the new year, we will look to continue to adapt as needed, in order to ensure that we are able to safely share the Good News and help our children plant firm roots in faith.
To begin 2021, Confirmation continued meeting weekly via Zoom, but began the year offering a rotation of Small Groups meeting in person at church on Wed nights. In February, groups were able to meet at church for a Ministry Night, participating in a number of volunteer activities. The 9th grade Confirmation Retreat was also held in February.
In March, the youth had an opportunity to participate in an at-home Bob Ross Painting in a
In April, Confirmation returned to its traditional format, with all groups meeting at church again to close out the school year. Also in April, the now-10th grade class was finally able to participate in Confirmation! This was followed by Confirmation of the 9th grade class in May. July brought the return of Confirmation camp, with 7th and 8th grade youth attending camp
at Imago Dei Village.
To kick off the new school year, Confirmation began in Sept with a Ministry Night, with youth making tie blankets for Project Linus. Ministry Night in October took the youth to Green Bay Community Church to participate in the always popular Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack. Early December saw the return of the beloved “stained-glass” window painting project, allowing the youth to use their creative skills to help tell the story of our Savior’s birth.
Much like Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights have returned to a place of energy and excitement. With the ongoing search for a new youth director, Pastor Jen and Tara Jagler have stepped in to fill the void, doing an amazing job to make sure that our youth continue to have a strong Confirmation program to help anchor their faith during these tumultuous times. In fact, they are doing such an outstanding job that new families also joined the Confirmation program this year. In addition to the strong leadership from Pastor Jen and Tara Jagler, we are blessed to have an awesome group of youth, who share their talents in so many ways, both within our congregation and in our community. Within our congregation, you will see our youth serving
in a number of important ways, including roles as Sunday School teachers, lectors, and ushers.
It is wonderful to see them sharing their gifts and actively living out their faith.
As we head into 2022, we ask that you continue to pray for our ministry, to give thanks for those who give so generously of their time and talents to make sure the important job of growing in faith can happen, and that new leaders to help guide and support this ministry will be identified. If you want to get involved, please let us know – there are many ways to serve and we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
The Education & Youth Team of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Tarra Gallagher & Hallie Langenhorst