Our weekly gathering on May 20 focused on children and youth. What is it they have been absorbing, and what is it they can teach us? How do we as leaders support their care-givers and prepare for re-entry into a world that has changed around them? Each of our speakers shared reflections from their perspectives and experiences. The conversation was facilitated by Linda Staats, founder of HomeGrown Faith and ELCA Coordinator for The Generosity Project. Across the miles, Linda cares for her 101- year-old mother and extended family members of the Millennial and Alpha generation in Kenya.

Cory Newman is Executive Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association (ELEA), the organization that advocates for 1,400 ELCA Schools and early learning centers. ELEA actively supports 18,000 staff and 150,000 children during closure of our Lutheran schools and sheltering in place orders. Cory is an experienced early childhood educator and mother to two girls, one in high school and the other an elementary age student.

Lyle Griner, Director of Peer Ministry and a grandfather, has been meeting weekly with our ELCA youth, listening to their deepest needs and hopes and providing resources for navigating these times together as youth and caring adults. Lyle is a spiritual director, author, and coach, who believes every youth is a leader.

Janelle Hooper, Program Director for the ELCA Children’s Ministry, is supporting our ELCA leaders and households by listening to the needs of our leaders and maintaining a website with up-to-date curated faith forming resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a pastor, author, Godly Play facilitator, and mother to two elementary age children.