by D.J. Chatelaine
I began my September in the blistering 110 degree Arizona heat. I was there for my college roommate’s wedding and had a wonderful time reconnecting with friends from that season of life. Returning to the cooler Minnesota weather, it’s been all hands on deck since: life got busy at Gloria Dei, as we began a new season with fall programming kickoff. GDYG started the year with minute-to-win-it games, featuring oreo cookies and pasta noodles, and a pizza party. We gathered the next week at the Gloria Dei Garden where Joshua Poencet shared about sustainable living initiatives and our call to care for the Earth so that we may share its goodness with future generations. That Sunday saw the world premier of “D.J. and the Dinosaurs,” our high school-led Sunday School music team, followed by our information meeting for our summer 2020 service trip to Brooklyn, NY. The following week, a group of our high school students led Confirmation, focusing the night on themes of stewardship, vocation, and environmental awareness. After I spent Saturday the 28th on the 6th grade retreat, learning from the 6th graders’ endless energy and curiosity, GDYG closed out the month with a dinner at Pasquale’s Pizza, generously provided by Char Harstad.
Throughout the month, there were a couple things I noticed. I’ve been impressed how our high school youth have really grown into leadership roles. From leading by example during GDYG, Confirmation, and Sunday School to sharing experiences learned from the summer with their peers, our high school youth should be praised for their dedication to the Gloria Dei community. Connor Ness, Kirsten Ness, and Payton Sears have taken inspiration from their week this summer at the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute and shared their passion to make our community more environmentally conscious and more mindful of the ways in which we use our resources, so that there will always be plenty for everyone.
Payton, Nadiya Christenson, Aarson Carston, and Sam Conners have all given their time on Sunday mornings to serve as music leaders for Sunday School, as part of “D.J. and the Dinosaurs.” Miya Ohashi Berg, Isabella Ostman, and Grace Howard continue to be Sunday School leaders and Miya is a part of our GDYG Leadership Team, along with the Dinosaurs, Connor, Kirsten, Amelia Adams, and Nolan Seaberg. And I continue to be grateful for our adult volunteer leaders: Mike Ness, Tracey Adams, and Caitlin & Kent Polley. Through the transition we’ve had at Gloria Dei in the past month, our high school youth and volunteers have carried on, continuing to explore life together.