VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 7/30/15)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries has opened registration at www.abwministries.org/vme for its upcoming virtual mission encounter, “Sacred Space: Bullying in Church Youth Groups,” occurring September 21-25, 2015. “Sacred Space” is a virtual mission encounter for women to become aware of signs that bullying may be occurring in the youth group or girls’ ministry group; find ways to build healthy relationships among group members; and learn of resources and activities to use in church or community youth groups to help create a more sacred space.
This virtual mission encounter is planned for adult women leaders of youth or children’s ministries, or for parents, grandparents, or other relatives of girls and boys involved in youth ministries. Girls may also register for the event and offer their own insights and perspectives, as well as learn ways they can help make their youth ministry groups a sacred space.
This virtual mission encounter “Sacred Space” is planned and led by the national leadership team of AB GIRLS: convenor Celine David (16) of the First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City, Utah; Events Coordinator Kennedy Cooper (16) of the Christian Faith Baptist Church in Garner, North Carolina; Promotions Coordinator Ngun Hlei Tial (15) of the Carson Chin Baptist Church in West Allis, Wisconsin; and Mission Coordinator Meghan Cubbison (16) of the First Baptist Church of Ottawa, Kansas. They are supported by AB GIRLS Coordinator Nancy Peto (adult) of University Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, and Mission and Events Coordinator (adult) Luz Jurado of the Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana in San Diego, California.
Special guests for “Sacred Space” include the Rev. Angel L. Sullivan, American Baptist-endorsed chaplain and national president of AB Women’s Ministries, and the Rev. Karen Yee, associate pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship, Castro Valley, and the English-speaking pastor at the lu-Mienh Friendship Baptist Church in Richmond, California. Rev. Sullivan, in her service as hospital chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital-BayCare Health System in Tampa, Florida, works with at-risk youth; she also has years of experience in ministry with youth and young adults. Rev. Karen Yee has served on several American Baptist national youth conference planning teams, as well as writing Christian education curriculum for all ages and serving as a mentor pastor and teacher.
“The first reaction of persons hearing the topic of this virtual mission encounter has often been, ‘But bullying doesn’t happen in church!’ However, I have sometimes witnessed the more subtle forms of bullying occurring in youth groups: ostracization, ridicule, and peer pressure. Sometimes our youth group activities and games can even play into these dynamics in ways we’re not expecting. When the youth members of the national leadership team raised this as an important issue they felt the need to address, it struck home. As adults, we need to be as watchful of signs of harassment in church as we are in schools or other peer group settings, and we especially need to be intentional about the creation of a safe, sacred space for youth in our ministries,” said the Rev. Sandra Hasenauer, associate executive director of AB Women’s Ministries.
Virtual mission encounters are a way for women to explore mission topics more deeply while still being able to attend to their responsibilities at work, home, church, or in their communities. Suggested activities to explore each day’s focus are emailed to participants: each participant determines how many activities she may have time to do within her daily schedule. Activities may include such things as reading the newspaper, exploring websites, reading and responding to blog posts, taking prayer walks, researching a topic of interest further, listening to audio files or watching videos, and so forth. Every evening includes a conference call featuring a special guest with particular expertise or stories to share on the daily theme; participants may attend as many or as few conference calls as their schedule and interest allow.
The deadline for registration for “Sacred Space: Bullying in Church Youth Groups,” is September 14, 2015. For more information, speaker bios, and online registration, visit www.abwministries.org/vme.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.