• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Courageous Conversations about Youth Ministry Webinar Recording

    On Thursday, April 16, 2020, American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) hosted a Courageous Conversation with youth ministers and college chaplains from around the nation about the challenges and opportunities for ministry with youth and young adults during COVID-19. Exploring ways to do youth and young adult ministry during a pandemic has left many youth workers with more questions than answers. American Baptist Women’s Ministries is committed to equipping youth workers in churches, universities/colleges, and community organizations with the resources they need to effectively serve young people during these uncertain times. We exploree the theological, social and practical applications of youth ministry in this season.

    Watch the Recording:
    This webinar recording is free to watch, but donations are welcome. Your donation will allow American Baptist Women's Ministries to continue providing programs, resources, and leader training for ministries with women and girls. Click here to make a donation.  

    Webinar Highlights:

    1. What tensions and struggles are youth and young adults talking about in this season? Have you heard concerns, social, theological, practical that have struck you? 
    • College students-merging two different lives- maintain autonomy. Can’t do homework because parents feel like they can work or babysit
    • Young adults are losing jobs and resources
    • Students are stressed, particularly first year students. Being home may stifle their independence
    • Students miss school and their friends
    • Students are asking questions about theodicy and sin. They are asking how to process loss?
    • Are these the last days? Is God punishing us?

    2. What new things have you learned about ministry with youth and young adults during the COVID-19 crisis? How will you apply these lessons moving forward?
    • Utilization of social media consistently (Instagram, zoom, google chat, tiktok  etc)
    • Modeling vulnerability and rest
    • Have confidence that young people have the emotional and spiritual capacity to be concerned about the world. Give them the space to create and decide what they need to do during this time.

    3. What theological, Christian practices or other resources have you drawn from to help young people understand COVID-19? How have you used these resources to help people stay connected to faith and to each other?  
    • Create space for anger, lament, reading the psalm. We still trust in your unfailing love
    • Teach young people how to pray. Prayers of Lament using the Psalter and Psalm 23 as an affirmation of faith.
    • Weekly practice spiritual exploration emails and Grounding techniques

    4. What practical suggestions do you have to reach out to youth that have and do not have computers?
    • Post cards to kids
    • Phone calls to family/substitute teaching (builds community and friendships)
    • Young adults are writing letters to each other
    • Daily reflection on the radio from someone from the community
    • Recording story time for kids
    • Instagram variety show. Each participant invites another participant to share a talent. People can share a song, work of art, quick recipe, etc.
    • links for exercise, live zoo classes, etc

    5. How are you coping with the stresses of COVID-19?
    • Create and maintain boundaries. Just because you are home does not mean you are always available
    • Keep an emotional journal. Write down your anxieties and create a plan.
    • Grounding Techniques (See Resources)
    • Monitor news consumption

    6. How are you supporting young people who have the virus or who has a family member affected
    • Be a spiritual partner
    • Ask what is sustaining you at this time? 
    • Listen. Do not judge. Let them feel safe. 
    • Keep in touch. Numerous times through the week.


    Summary of basic grounding technique mixed with Spiritual practice by The Rev. Julia Wright:
    • Start by settling yourself into a comfortable position, surprisingly the floor leaning up against a wall, or a hard chair will actually help ground you faster than a fluffy couch or your bed. 
    • Close your eyes, take a deep breath. A breath that's so big your shoulders, and chest move. Do it again. 
    • If your heart is racing, put one hand on your chest, and intentionally slow your breathing, tell your heart you are safe, you are whole, and you are loved. Keep breathing, settle into your self. 
    • Pay attention to your body. What parts of you are touching the floor? The wall? The chair? 
    • List in your mind each and every part of you that is touching something else. Every toe, you heels, which parts of your leg? How many vertebrae are touching the wall, how about your shoulder blades?
    • Breathe, stretch out your neck, is your head touching anything now? 
    • Lay your hand(s) down on a flat surface, how much of your hand can touch the table/floor/book/Bible/wall? 
    • Breathe again. Breathe the breath of God deep inside of your lungs, let it fill you. Let it fill your spirit.
    • It was the breath of God that began creation, sustains creation, inspires creation.
    • Breathe in and out, breathe in the breath of God and breath out gratitude and peace, fill the space around you with holy breath. 
    Click HERE to view more practices
    Click HERE to Listen to the weekly Muskingum Religious life radio show, Thursdays at 11:00 and rebroadcast at 5:00pm until May.  Live stream HERE.

    Panelists included: 

    Minister Barbara Florvil
    American Baptist Women’s Ministries’ Young Adult Women’s Advisory Committee
    Assistant to the Pastor for Youth, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA
    Minister Barbara Florvil, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, is a proud daughter of Haitian immigrants. Upon graduating from Tufts University in 2013 with a B.A. in Child Development, Barbara worked as an Education Coordinator at the Berean Community & Family Life Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Min. Florvil, is a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, where she received her Master of Divinity. While at Princeton she served as the co-chair of the Association of Black Seminarians Women’s Fellowship focusing her scholarship in Black Church and Women, Gender and Theology Studies. Min. Florvil was licensed to preach the Gospel at Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr. Currently, she joyfully serves as the Assistant to the Pastor for Youth at Alfred Street Baptist Church, in Alexandria, VA, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley. Min. Florvil also serves as a member of the Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community’s International Youth Development team and the Young Adult Women’s Ministries Advisory Team for American Baptist Women’s Ministries. Through her love for Christ and community, Min. Florvil works to empower children, youth and young adults to experience God in ways that are powerful and relevant. 

    The Rev. Beatrix Weil
    Chaplain of Rhodes College
    Parish Associate of Evergreen Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN
    Rev. Beatrix Weil currently serves as the Chaplain of Rhodes College and Parish Associate of Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN. She grew up on Long Island in New York but has lived in the south for three years. She attended the University of Notre Dame where she majored in Management Consulting and Psychology. After graduation, she attended Princeton Theological Seminary and graduated with the Master of Divinity degree and the Certificate in Theology, Women, and Gender in 2017. She was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in July of the same year. Chaplain Beatrix has served at a hospital, a high school, religious organizations of various denominations, and three colleges. She enjoys swimming and playing basketball. 

    The Rev. Werner Ramirez 
    Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults
    Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY 

    Werner is a Guatemalan immigrant who grew up in the hood of Long Beach, CA. He jokes that he did not get into much trouble growing up because he has great parents who got him cable television and took him to church. Werner is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He holds an M.Div and a MA in Christian Education & Spiritual Formation from Princeton Theological Seminary. Werner has worked in youth ministry for over a decade on both coasts in suburban and urban contexts. He currently lives in Queens, NY with his wonderful wife April, and serves as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.

    Minister TauVaughn Toney 
    Minister to Children, Teens, & Young Adults
    Trinity Baptist Church, Columbus, OH 

    Minister TauVaughn Toney is a native of Columbus, Ohio and serves as Minister to Children, Teens, & Young Adults at the Trinity Baptist Church of Columbus, Ohio. TauVaughn is especially passionate about social justice and inclusivity and incorporates it into every aspect of his ministry. Minister Toney has served as campus minister to Princeton University's Hallelujah Church and also serves as the chair of Promises Made, Promises Kept Young Adult Voter Outreach (YAVO).  He is an alumnus of Howard University and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

    The Rev. Julia Sprague Wright
    University Chaplain for Student Affairs
    Muskingum University, New Concord, OH 

    Rev. Julia Wright is the Chaplain for Student Affairs at Muskingum University South Eastern, OH. She graduated with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and completed her capstone in Pastoral Care of Women and Preaching. As an undergraduate Rev. Wright attended St. Lawrence University in Northern New York. She majored in religion and focused on the intersection of Religion and Politics. As a College Chaplain Rev. Wright is called to "help students find the tradition that makes them the happiest, healthiest, whole, human they can be." Wright was ordained in the PCUSA but she believes that students must find the path and tradition that is best for them and builds the strongest relationship with the Divine.
    Currently Rev. Wright resides in New Concord OH with her husband and their Australian Shepherd, MacIntyre. Rev. Wright is also a classically trained vocalist, fiddle player, and has recently started to learn piano. 

    The Rev. Susan Fair
    Board-Certified Chaplain, C.P.E. Supervisor, and a Community Chaplain
    Jersey City Police Department
    In 2012 until 2014, Rev. Susan served as the Youth Pastor at the Eastchester Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, New York, attending weekly meetings with the youth group and designing an on-going program that would teach the essential ideas and principles of Christian faith. After working in the Jersey City Public System schools for five years, Rev. Susan retired in January 2019. Currently, she is a Board-Certified Chaplain, C.P.E. Supervisor, and a Community Chaplain for the Jersey City Police Department. Rev. Susan is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Chaplaincy. She is also an adjunct Professor at Nyack Christian College and the Co-Founder/Secretary of the Jersey City Women's Clergy Alliance. Since May 2016, Rev. Susan has served as an Associate Minister at the Bethesda Baptist Church in Jersey City. One of her favorite biblical quotes is Philippians 4:9 "the things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." 

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