A couple fun events from today:
This morning Sunday school was a cross-generational event. Parents were invited to accompany their children, and all the other congregants were encouraged to join in, too. We sat in a gigantic circle in the fellowship hall in the church's lowest level, and a guest pastor (here from Vibrant Faith Ministries to host a two-day workshop that Susan attended--remember?) led us first in activities that got us to identify what "generation" we belonged to (e.g., Baby Boomers, Generation X) and how each generation tends to experience church differently. Then he put us into small groups, each with a mix of ages/generations, for discussion and sharing of prayer requests. As he pointed out, today we engaged in meaningful conversations with people whom we see every Sunday but rarely say more than "hello" to because they're not our age. *
This afternoon we had a Sons of Norway lodge meeting. Susan was at the church workshop, of course, but the girls and I attended. As lodge musician, Suzanna was in charge of playing the national anthems (Canadian, Norwegian, and American) that open each meeting (I always sit with her at the keyboard and play along). Then, as lodge youth director, I took the girls into the next room for youth activities while the adults remained to conduct the meeting. (As lodge secretary, Susan had arranged for another member to record minutes in her absence.)
The girls and I read aloud a Norwegian children's book: Pingvinen som Ikke Likte Kulde [The Penguin Who Didn't Like the Cold]. We laughed at the illustrations and used them to help us decode the Norwegian words throughout. Then we played Norwegian bingo; we used a bingo game from home, but I called out all the numbers in Norwegian, and the girls used what they knew about the numbers one through nineteen in Norwegian to figure out the numbers twenty and beyond.
We rejoined the meeting at the end so that Suzanna could lead the group in singing a Norwegian song: "Vårmorgen" ["Spring Morning"]--an ironic song choice considering the ice and slush on the roads and the falling snow visible through the windows as we sang! While enjoying refreshments after the meeting, the lodge's program director led us in playing a low-tech version of Wheel of Fortune, with each puzzle relating somehow to spring or Easter. The girls were only too happy to help out, serving as Vanna White and writing in the guessed letters on the whiteboards as lodge members competed.
* One of the topics that the guest pastor asked us to discuss in our small groups was an example of how each of us had been called to be brave. He asked for volunteers to share a story from their group, and Hillary raised her hand to tell her story. She was the lone Moberg in her group (each of us was spread out across the room, each sitting in a mixed-age group); and as she told about being brave while a kid at school made fun of her name, I teared up and wished I could have run across the room to give her a hug. Instead the pastor went over and did that. He put his arm around her and said some sweet and thoughtful things: that God knows her name and that it and she are special to him. The guest pastor did a good job facilitating the cross-generational Sunday school session overall, but that was a particularly memorable aspect of the experience for me.