Jebson looks to create Blyth, Brussels youth ministry
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Alex Jebson, the new student minister for the Blyth and Brussels United Churches, is working to establish a youth ministry for the churches, seeking input and participation from the communities.
In his early consultations with members of the congregation, Jebson identified a need for youth outreach and felt a youth ministry would fit the need in the community. In the era of COVID-19, he also was told that online or outdoor events would likely best serve the youth of the community, especially with winter on the horizon.
In the first few weeks, Jebson and his Sunday school volunteers have hosted a pair of events, including a hike between Brussels and Blyth and an outdoor craft day in Brussels with more sure to come.
“As routines start to stabilize and kids are getting more comfortable with the new ways of doing school, our congregations are discerning how best to provide meaningful faith formation that allows for the safety of all, while still encouraging community building and, most importantly, fun,” Jebson wrote in a post on the churches’ website. “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with some of the families in our congregations, hearing what their needs and hopes are for Christian education. However, we want to hear from even more families to ensure that we can best support and celebrate our learning in the midst of these strange times.”
The post goes on to suggest a number of alternative activities to reach out to the young and young at heart, such as nature hikes, Thanksgiving crafts, online sing-alongs and more.
Those are just some of Jebson’s original ideas, he said, but he’s looking to hear from members of the community as to how else the church can aid the youth of Blyth and Brussels.
Jebson said he hoped to roll out this youth-oriented programming as soon as he arrived, but with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, he said it made sense to wait for a while before planning anything too robust. Now, he wants as much feedback as he can get, which is why he’s asking community members to call or text him at 705-344-3385 or to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the first steps for Jebson will be to introduce himself properly to members of the congregation, including parents of children who want to be part of the youth ministry. Having just arrived in the community, Jebson said it’s crucial to get to know members of the congregation and the community and build a relationship so they know him and feel comfortable reaching out to him.
In the coming weeks, Jebson hopes to expand the programming to include Zoom get-togethers and weekly projects. There will be weekly activity bundles – somewhat of a “church in a box’ – that can be picked up at the church and then youth ministry members can get together later in the week over Zoom and work on them together, but from home to ensure safety.
For more information or to get involved with the newest project being undertaken by the Blyth and Brussels United Church and their new student minister, reach out to Jebson.