Posts tagged Youth
Mental Health Grant Update
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As I shared in July, Abiding Presence was awarded a $10,000 grant by the ELCA for a 6 month mental health ministry partnership with NAMI-Northern Virginia. As we implement our proposal, here’s a few quick updates on our goals and how we are using the grant to change lives and bring hope to our community!

Goal #1: Hire a part-time NAMI family support partner to work on-site 10 hours a week with families in navigating the mental health system. Update: We are working with NAMI to have a family support partner in place by September 15 at Abiding Presence. The family support partner will work with families in the congregation and community to provide resources and support. The grant will help support the salary of the family support partner.

Goal #2: Offer a support class for family members of those with a mental health condition at Abiding Presence. Update: We are coordinating a workshop called “Children with Challenging Behaviors” for parents. The workshop will cover handling behavioral challenges in children, regardless of a mental health diagnosis. We have 8 people from the AP Mental Health Team willing to be trained to offer the 1 day course. We are also working with NAMI to offer a “Family to Family” course in January 2020 for family members of those with a mental health condition. Grant resources will offset the costs of food and childcare for these workshops and classes.

Goal #3: Offer more events and trainings to educate, support and raise awareness in our community. Update: We are hosting a Mental Health First Aid Training for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers of Youth at Abiding Presence on Saturday, October 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. We are also co-hosting a screening of “Angst,” a 1 hour documentary on anxiety in youth, on Tuesday, November 18th at 7:00 p.m. The movie is an engaging and helpful explanation of youth anxiety and how it can be managed and treated. Following the viewing, there will be a panel discussion with mental health and community experts, who will answer questions and offer resources. Grants funds will allow us to offer food as well as childcare for these events.

Stay tuned for more information and contact me or a member of the mental health team if you’d like to learn more or get involved!

Sunday School Registration
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Registration is up and ready for our fast approaching Sunday School kickoff on September 8th! Please click here for the form, or follow the link below. We are asking all parents to register their children at their earliest convenience, and we will have forms available at church on Sunday as well. Please contact Michelle Galdames-Henry, Children and Family Minister with any questions or comments. We can’t wait to see you all!

7th-12th Grade Youth Group Information Night

Wednesday, July 31 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Mr. Jon, our new Youth & Family Minister, is excited to meet all of our 7th-12th grade youth and families. We will be grilling burgers and hot dogs while Mr. Jon talks to parents and students about the new youth ministry program. Bring your 7-12th graders, a side dish or dessert, and that is all that you’ll need. The night will start at 6pm and end around 8pm. Feel free to email Jon with any questions or to RSVP. Look forward to seeing you there!

Meredith KeseleyYouth
Children's Ministry Registration

Please help us plan for fall by registering your children ages 3 through Senior High for Sunday School and youth groups. We ask families to please fill out a new registration form each year so we can stay updated on allergies and other needs for each child. Registration is available here. Contact Children and Family Minister Sara Dyson with questions. 

Youth Choir & Band Nats Game Outing!

[Deadline Extended!]
As of the end of the school year...

Rising 6th graders are now officially eligible to participate in Youth Band and Youth Choir at Abiding Presence!

To officially welcome them to the groups (and just for a super-fun thing to do together!) we're going to a Washington Nationals home game vs. the Atlanta Braves at 1:35pm on Sunday, July 22.

We'll meet at Abiding Presence right after worship and head over together. Everyone should bring money to get lunch at the ballpark. Afterward, we'll visit an incredible ice cream place nearby that makes their own ice cream daily.

All rising 6th-12th graders interested in Youth Band and/or Youth Choir are welcome to join us! (You don't have to commit to anything long-term.) If you'd like to join us, please email David Chávez (Music & Worship Minister) at by the end of the day on Monday, July 2 so we can get a final count for ordering tickets.

Ticket prices will likely be around $15 to $23 depending on how many people go, but do not let cost be an obstacle to coming! If you need help purchasing a ticket, we will figure it out; just talk to me. I'm really excited about the work Youth Band and Youth Choir have already done, and the potential for musical growth and worship leadership among this year's amazing group of students!

For more information about Youth Choir and Youth Band, email or visit

A New and Exciting Opportunity

What if youth ministry was more than youth group? What if churches built youth ministry not just for young people, but with young people? What if youth ministry became a construction site: a place where young and old work together to survey, build and reflect the kingdom of God in their local community? These are the questions being asked by Princeton Seminary as they launch a new initiative called the Log College Project, in which Abiding Presence has been chosen to participate. I am excited for our congregation to learn, grow and discern alongside 53 other churches of various denominations from around the country.

The first phase of the project is to become part of a “Community of Engagement.” Following a curriculum provided to us from the Log College Project, we have formed a design team made up of young people, parents of children and youth, staff, church council representation and adults in the congregation who are currently involved with our senior high youth. This design team is spending the next few weeks researching, meeting and developing a community blueprint.  We look forward to sharing with the rest of the congregation what we have developed. It will be out on display by the weekend of June 23/24.

We will submit our community blueprint, along with some of the other research about our congregation we have collected, to the Log College Project. They will choose 12 churches to move forward into the next phase of the project, which includes spending two years as part of a “Community of Practice” rethinking youth ministry. While we certainly hope we are chosen to move forward, even if we are not both the process and the research will be helpful to our Senior High Discernment Group as the continue to listen, pray and imagine what God has in store for us. In many ways, the Log College Project intersected in a “Holy Spirit moment” with the work of our Senior High Youth Ministry Discernment Group that has been meeting since January.

I invite you to join me in praying for what God has in store for our congregation as we complete the Community of Engagement phase and wait to hear if we are chosen as one of the congregations to move forward to the next phase of the project. One of the things that has been clear in our discernment so far is that we envision youth ministry happening not just off in the corner of the church in the youth room, but instead as part of the DNA of the congregation in many and various aspects of our church’s life together. We hear God calling us to be a community that is about building relationships between people of all generations in ways that lift up the gifts that each person has to bring to the church. This means that all of us – all of us – will have a role to play as we move forward. So, I hope you will start praying, listening and discerning alongside of me and our leadership about what your role might be. If you want to chat more about it, I’d love the chance for a conversation!  

FUNdrive for Abiding Presence Youth

Do you have unwanted clothes and household items, but no time to have a yard sale? Here's a way to clean out all that stuff and help send our 13 Senior High youth and 3 chaperones to Houston for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. 

Bag up your unwanted items and drop them off in the Abiding Presence Narthex anytime between May 25th and June 3rd. The following items in good, clean condition are accepted: Clothing, Accessories (hats, belts, scarves, etc.), Shoes, Linens, Books and Small Household items.

Every item donated turns into money to help send the kids of Abiding Presence to Houston. We've partnered with the company FUNdrive who will pay us per pound of items collected.

Meredith KeseleyYouth
ELCA Youth Gathering Investors Needed!
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Abiding Presence is sending 13 senior high youth and three adult chaperones to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX this summer. 

We're looking for members of the congregation to invest in our youth by providing financial contributions to make the Youth Gathering experience possible. The youth designed their own "start-up company," APSOF, which is the acronym for Abiding Presence Seeds of Faith. They are hoping the congregation will invest in this company (i.e. in the youth!) so that they can experience the Youth Gathering this summer. The APSOF initial public offering (IPO) launched at the Abiding Table on Youth Sunday with much excitement and a price of $25 per share. 

For more information you can read the APSOF prospectus, visit the display in the narthex, or talk with one of the teens that is planning to attend.  Please consider investing in our AP teens and this exciting part of their faith journey. 

Donations can be made online or by taking an envelope from the display in the narthex. 

Check out the video put together to tell the story of why investing in our youth to attend the ELCA Youth Gathering is something important for the church to be about. 

Meredith KeseleyYouth