One of the challenges of working with young people in a commercially-crazed Christmas milieu is the is the inevitable post-holiday letdown. Fortunately, we have a church cure: Epiphany! We have loved celebrating the twelfth day of Christmas here for years, and are already planning for our celebrating, which will take place on January 3rd. As part of our Allen Chapel observances, we will revisit the story from Matthew 2: 1-11, complete with costumed wise people. As always, we will conclude with the traditional King’s Cake, with coins hidden therein. The three children lucky enough to find a coin will be crowned, and allowed to maintain their reigns for a week. So much for the post-Christmas blahs!
That same evening we will be diving back into the thick of our Confirmation schedule with a special event that we will be sharing with the Confirmands and mentors from the Lyme Congregational church. As part of our study of world religions, we will be welcoming Dawood Yasin, the Muslim Advisor from the Tucker Foundation to join forces with the CCDC crew for this valuable opportunity. We’ll begin with a potluck supper together, and then Dawood will present an instructional lecture, followed by time for questions and answers.
Confirmation has been going very well. We have balanced in-class discussions about theology with public service and individual mentor meetings, and seem to be right on schedule. We concluded the first half of our journey with a Christmas celebration and dinner with the mentors, sharing the Statement of Faith that we composed in a recent class session. Being able to acknowledge what we believe in common about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has empowered us as a group. Our group chemistry is palpable, and it is strong.
The first week in January will also see us starting to share responsibility for a new Campus Ministry initiative, After several planning sessions by a number of the Dartmouth campus chaplains, we agreed that a weekly ecumenical vesper service, followed by a meal, might provide a valuable worship and fellowship experience for many members of the college community. The vespers will occur every Thursday from 5:00 – 5:30 in Rollins Chapel, and we will be hosting the meal here at CCDC. Each week’s service will reflect the diversity of the Christian traditions of the sponsoring organizations, which will include Lutheran, Baptist, UCC, Quaker, Episcopal and Catholic. Our opportunity to share in the services and host these meals is another wonderful way for CCDC to fulfill our important commitment to the spiritual life of the Dartmouth community. I will have the privilege of leading the worship on January 21st.
Finally, be sure to check the bulletin board outside the office for some updates on notable achievements by young people in the congregation. The latest issue of the national newsletter for Health in Harmony featured a story and smiling photo of our own Spencer Bernard, describing his inspirational fundraising efforts for an x-ray machine for the ASRI Clinic in Indonesia. We’re thrilled to share this you, since it reminds all of us that any one of us, young or old, can truly make a difference. Happy New Year!
Director of Religions Education