You may not know this, but as well as churches, deaneries and dioceses, there is another organizational level of the Episcopal Church. This is the Province. There are nine provinces, primarily covering the United States, but also Episcopal churches in Micronesia, Taiwan, and South America. Last weekend I attended a workshop which gathered together Christian Education representatives from each of the dioceses in Province 1 - Eastern Mass., Western Mass., Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. Julie Lytle has recently been appointed as Executive Director of Province 1, and is holding a series of meetings with people from different areas of ministry, to help her better discern what the Province can do to support its members.
One thing I learned from our time together is that everyone's story of how they were called to their ministry is unique, and always a gift to hear. Each of us, whether we are new in the business, or have been working in Christian Education for 40 years, feel that there is no business we would rather be doing, and that gathering together to affirm its importance is a rare but wonderful blessing.
We were also treated to another interpretation of story. Amy Cook, our own Diocese's Christian Education person, has a strong background in theater, and told us the story of the road to Emmaus in the first person. The affect was absolutely thrilling. I heard things I had not heard before, and felt both the despondancey at knowing that Jeuss was dead, and the thrill that she expressed at realizing that she was speaking with Jesus. I therefore decided to do the same thing this Sunday with the story of the Prodigal son. This isn't an easy story, especially for children. Why would the naughty younger brother get all the attention, and not the well-behaved older brother? We had great fun telling the story together, and made sure to include some sheep, as the youngest children wanted to be sheep. Somehow the immediacy of putting the story into one's own words makes it all the more meaningful and special. Jesus told stories because of their central role in his culture, but their power has never dwindled. So consider telling your child or children a bible story you know really well, and if you feel able, choose a character in the story who story you can tell. You could even have a dialogue, which each of you choosing a character. Since children live constantly in a world of stories, they will help you in your storytelling.