In the Magazine we’ve been exploring the spirituality of summer. In the essay below, Tessa Darke, age 10, speaks about the feel of summer at her church amidst a number of changes in this season. This is especially good reading for those who might despair over the future of the church; it’s in good hands.
My name is Tessa and my family is a member of St Alban’s Episcopal church in Bexley. The City of Bexley is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and has lots of churches but lots of Synagogues too. We used to live there but we don’t anymore, but we still go to church at St Alban’s. I have an older sister, two older brothers and one younger sister. I just started acolyting last fall, and I love to sing in the children’s choir but that doesn’t happen all the time. I also love our rummage sale. This is the second year that I had the job of sorting the jewelry section.
Church has many changes and some of the biggest changes happen during the summer. Some of these summer changes include attending less often because of vacations, or out of town visitors, attending camps, and no Sunday school.
St Alban’s is a small church compared to some. It is a white one story church with a big bright red front double door. I have gone there my whole life and I was baptized there when I was a baby. I don’t know how old the church is but I know a lot of people have been going there for a long time. My favorite spot is in the memorial garden where my grandpa’s ashes are buried.
In addition to those general changes, my church, St Albans, has some changes going on right now including combining the two services, not printing a bulletin, and transitioning to a new rector.
We have some family vacations scheduled so we can’t always go to church on Sundays. We don’t usually go to church when we’re on vacation.
I am excited because in the summer there is a really fun camp called Procter Summer Camp. It is an Episcopalian summer camp. It lasts for about five days. It’s really fun! There are a bunch of activities to do. We do about an hour of worshiping God every day. Even though the prayers and communion are similar to St Alban’s, the songs are very different. There is a projector screen so we can follow along. There’s no organ, it’s mostly guitar and drums. At the end of the day we sit around the camp fire singing songs about God and events from the bible. It is a special time that I can worship God outside of church.
In the summer St. Albans has no Sunday school. The kids can wear casual clothes and we play outside if the weather is good- enjoying God’s creation. Then we go in at the Peace for the rest of the service like we do the rest of the year.
This summer our church is combining our two services into one. It has not started yet so I don’t know how it will go but I think it is a good idea. I have never been to an 8:00 service so I think I will meet some new people if, I can wake up in time to get there at the 9:00 combined service since it’s hard enough for us to all get there for 10:15!
There is another big change in our church right now about the bulletin. One of the things that is happening is the office isn’t printing out the whole bulletin because it costs a lot of money. So they are trying to see if we can follow along in the prayer books and hymnals if we have a sheet to say which page to turn to.
Another big change is that our rector Amma Susan is leaving. I think there will probably be some very big changes in the services and, how they are put together with the new rector. I have mixed emotions about her leaving. I am of course sad that she is leaving, but excited and curious about who will be our new rector.
Summer is a great time to worship God. A lot of kids like the more casual worship at summer camp. As I am writing this article I am anticipating heading off to Procter summer camp where I will be making new memories with friends and strengthening my faith with God. When I’m in camp the way we worship is easier for me to understand. It’s also different because we worship every day at camp not just on Sunday. I have more time to focus on my relationship with God when I am not in school, focusing on my homework and school work.