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  • Lauren Buck Medeiros

Advocating for and Ministering to Our Youth in “Coronatide”

Lauren Buck Medeiros is a chaplain at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

There isn’t a youth worker (or pastoral staff or parent) alive who isn’t struggling to define their role in the ongoing challenges of advocating for and ministering to our youth in this seemingly endless season of “Coronatide.” How do we keep connected in this time when our usual “connections” continue to be difficult and even dangerous? Even with an akamai digital generation, just how many Zooms, texts or phone calls can replace the joy of in-person youth meetings, camps, service projects, overnights or cookouts—especially when the adults feel clueless, helpless and weary? Are our youth also weary of screens for school, for church, for friendship, and even connecting with trusted adults in our churches? It is undeniable that our young people need us in new and evolving AND VITAL ways…but how?

Especially as the pandemic drags on beyond the “finish line” that we were all hoping and praying to reach before the Delta variant tacked on its own brand of EXTRA. One friend characterized this challenge as a marathon we’ve run…but the last mile feels possible because we’re nearing the end... ONLY to approach the finish line and suddenly, the finish line has moved! It extends so far into the distance, we don’t even KNOW how much longer we have to run, swim, bike, plod, or crawl. Ah, but crawling puts us on our knees, and that’s a great place to pray, yes?

SO, with the collective prayers of our faith communities, local church, Mokupuni and Conference, here are a couple of crazy ideas that I offer as a humble water station while we turn the corner and keep going:

  1. Plan an “around the house” picture scavenger hunt. This can be “live” on a (recorded) Zoom meeting—or something you circulate to be done on their own time. Maybe end the list with “where I see God.” Then compile and share a collage or clip in a future worship Zoom... (“low tech” version: include their ideas in a spoken prayer for worship.) There are many indoor scavenger hunt ideas you can find online including this one:

  2. Thanksgiving Lunchbox affirmations (here’s something that can involve members of your congregation) Either randomly assign youth names to non-related adults - OR give the whole youth list to several adults; then invite those church members to write a personal note of gratitude for each youth… then get those note to parents/caregivers to secretly place in students’ lunchbox or backpack – or mirror where they brush their teeth in the morning… somewhere they will FIND it on maybe the Monday of Thanksgiving week…






Lauren sent us SEVEN creative ideas—so watch future HCUCC publications for more of her ideas to use in your setting!

This piece was originally published in the October 2021 issue of The Friend.

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