A Moment for Mission
"I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ." – Philemon 1:6, NRSV
"I became a Sunday school teacher," recalled Catherine Waggoner, "because we needed teachers so badly, they were willing to have me." Waggoner of First United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas, hoped to sign up as a substitute. However, as she learned of the need for full-time teachers, Waggoner said, "I knew I could do this.
"I have never regretted moving my Sunday school hour down to the children's floor," she added. "Learning the lessons was the most difficult part. I let myself stumble and learn with my children. My goal became, not to teach the lesson perfectly, but to let each child feel loved and accepted by me and by our church. Over the years, learning the lessons has become easier, but how I address every class is the same—this is a safe place to learn in your unique way and to be loved."
Waggoner has now taught Sunday school for more than 11 years. "I enjoy playing on the floor with my students," she admitted, "since my kids think they are too old for that. If I have taught your child, I thank you for the commitment of bringing them each Sunday and trusting me with them. The lessons are rarely perfect, but they are taught with love."
One of United Methodism's undated churchwide observances is Christian Education Sunday. On this special day, we honor committed people who share their faith and nurture members of all ages. Thank you!
– Adapted from an online story by Catherine Waggoner, First UMC, Austin, Texas, published Aug. 14, 2017
Loving God, like the apostle Paul, we pray that the sharing of our faith will become effective as we perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost — God of mercy and grace, you see us for the imperfect vessels we are. Our worship is imperfect; our service is imperfect; our giving is imperfect; our compassion for others is imperfect. Yet your love and patience is boundless! We bring our gifts to your altar and pray that in the loving hands of the Potter they might be made beautiful, reshaping the world in beauty and love. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Jeremiah 18:1-11)
"We had a few children attending our vacation Bible school for the first time ever," said the Rev. Junghil Rhee of Grace United Methodist Church, , Carbondale, Illinois. One was Aiden, a friend of Rhee's son, Isaac.
"He told me he had so much fun he'd come back again and again," Rhee added. "His parents always drove by our church, never to realize there was … a church! I am praying that Aiden's first-time church experience becomes a seed in his spirit to grow and a breakthrough in his life to meet Jesus."
Observed on a date of each annual conference's choosing, Christian Education Sunday "calls the church as the people of God to be open to growth and learning as disciples of Jesus Christ" (The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 265.1).
When our congregation celebrates Christian Education Sunday, we reflect on how our various ministries—VBS, Sunday school, age-level groups and more—introduce people to Jesus and help them to grow in faith.