Project Zion Podcast

319 | Steamers and Sodas | Online Kids Book Club

October 27, 2020 Project Zion Podcast
Project Zion Podcast
319 | Steamers and Sodas | Online Kids Book Club
Chapters
Project Zion Podcast
319 | Steamers and Sodas | Online Kids Book Club
Oct 27, 2020
Project Zion Podcast

What happens when a pandemic hits and a couple of ministers realize young kids are being left behind? Kid's Online Book Club is born! Over twenty kids across three different time zones have been involved in this new ministry that focuses on peacemaking, empathy, justice, and helping kids make sense of our current reality. 

Seventies JoAnn Fisher and Karin Peter are more than happy to help start a book club in your area and you can contact them at [email protected] and [email protected] 

Host: Brittany Mangelson
Guest: JoAnn Fisher and Karin Peter 

Show Notes Transcript

What happens when a pandemic hits and a couple of ministers realize young kids are being left behind? Kid's Online Book Club is born! Over twenty kids across three different time zones have been involved in this new ministry that focuses on peacemaking, empathy, justice, and helping kids make sense of our current reality. 

Seventies JoAnn Fisher and Karin Peter are more than happy to help start a book club in your area and you can contact them at [email protected] and [email protected] 

Host: Brittany Mangelson
Guest: JoAnn Fisher and Karin Peter 

319 | Steamers and Sodas | Kids Book Club
Project Zion Podcast  

 

Josh Mangelson  00:17

Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.

Brittany Mangelson  00:33

Welcome to Project Zion Podcast. This is Brittany Mangelson and I will be your host for today's episode, we are going to be doing a Steamers and Sodas episode, which is all about children's ministry in Community of Christ. So I have on two guests who are no strangers to Project Zion Podcast. They've both been on the podcast before. And one is actually also a co-host on Project Zion Podcast. So we have Karin Peter, and JoAnn Fisher. And they both serve in the US as seventies. So I'm really excited because in the midst of all these conversations that we've had with moving ministries online, they have found a way to engage kids in an online book club. So Karin and JoAnn, welcome! I'm really excited to have this conversation today. 

 

Karin Peter  01:27

Hey, Brittany. 

 

JoAnn Fisher  01:28

Thanks!

 

Brittany Mangelson  01:29

So we're just gonna dive right on into this. I'm wondering what sparked the idea for a kid's book club, who started it and what kind of need was there that you were responding to? So we had to, JoAnn and I had to talk about this earlier today. It's like it was so long ago, we can't remember, because may of 2020 feels like eons ago. So it was actually, I did a Project Zion interview with Cass Unger from Australia, and she does a kid's ministry. And I had asked her more about what she did, which is different than bookclub. But it kind of sparked this idea about a kid's ministry online. And then when, when we became aware that the pandemic was going to be with us for a while, I read to my grandson online using I think, messenger, maybe the video chat on messenger. And after I had done that, I thought, "Wait a minute. We can actually do this online. We could read stories we could it.." and it just kind of grew and I texted JoAnn, I'm like, Hey JoAnn, I have this, this wonderful idea and you're my friend, would you want to experiment?" And she was like, "Sure!" So that's just how it started. There was no grand plan. There was no structure, there was no outline. We just went, hey, we're grandmas, we could do this.

 

JoAnn Fisher  02:58

Mm hmm.

 

Brittany Mangelson  02:59

So an idea that just was very organic and grew organically and just was naturally something that you were already doing and then decided to turn it into ministry. That's awesome. 

 

Karin Peter  03:09

Well, I did it with my grandson. Although he only wanted to do it a couple of times. He liked playing the games on the messenger app way more than hearing the story. But it It helped me become aware that kids were really feeling displaced in this. I mean, adults, we would gripe about it to each other, we get on the zoom meeting and complain. But kids were suffering without that outlet. So they are no longer going to school, they don't have their friends, they can't go play at somebody's house. And all of a sudden they were displaced and we didn't at least not where I am, we didn't seem to have anything that was going to give them community like they deserve to have and and to have a really safe space to just be who they are and not have it be school and graded and judged and all those things that we do. So JoAnn's the best person to do that because she's the most non judgy person I know, so.

 

JoAnn Fisher  04:04

Oh, thanks Karin.

 

Karin Peter  04:06

 Oh you're welcome. 

 

JoAnn Fisher  04:09

It feels like Mrs. Doubtfire ministry to me. I've said that to Karin before where we get on and just are able to be are ourselves with little kids who are not judging either which is really nice.

 

Karin Peter  04:25

Okay, but I'm not like my whole self on there because I'm way nicer than I normally would be like with adults when I'm on with the kids, but they're so they're so delightful that it really are a high point of  our week. 

 

04:40

Yeah, I get to see a side of Karin I never see it edit that out, but (laughter)

 

Karin Peter  04:46

Other people have said that. It's okay.

 

Brittany Mangelson  04:50

I absolutely love it and having, we'll get into this in a little bit. But having sat in on these book clubs, I really just see the joy that the kids have just being able to connect with each other and I mean, most of these kids haven't even met in real life and yet they're becoming good friends. So now I'm wondering what the main focuses so are you reading super churchy books? Is this more of a secular thing? I'm assuming that it's in alignment with our message and identity? You two are seventiese so you're very well aware of what our messaging is, but what is the main focus of this book club?

 

Karin Peter  05:28

So it's not churchy by design, I said, we didn't have an outline, we didn't have a plan. This was an experiment going in. But we didn't want this to be something where there was some kind of religious agenda. Because I think religion is best learned when it's practiced as a character building and traits for life that are learning and that are in alignment with our Enduring Principles. So we looked for aspects of the Community of Christ Enduring Principles that we thought were important for kids to engage in. So kindness, empathy, diversity, justice, and peace were the ones that we kind of settled on they broadened a bit, we include environmentalism, we include, trying to be very specifically addressing issues of importance, like we addressed Black Lives Matter, we addressed feminism and some other things through the stories in very subtle, very gentle ways. But rather than making it religious, we wanted it to be a place where kids or where parents, regardless of whether they were religious, or post religious or confused about religion, whatever they might be that they felt comfortable having their kids participate. So that's the direction that we've taken with it. We're trying to walk the ministry and message of Jesus without being preachy about Jesus. Not that there's anything wrong in preaching about Jesus, I can go there, too!

 

JoAnn Fisher  07:03

Right!

 

Brittany Mangelson  07:04

I think it's important, though. I mean, his parents are trying to reconstruct their theology and their beliefs. You know, I remember when I was very early on, and my seeker days, Robin was teaching the kids class, and I would just hover outside of her class with my newborn baby and figure out what she was teaching my daughters, because if it was not something I agreed with, we would have been gone. So I mean, yeah, I totally understand the concern that that parents have. So JoAnnJ, did you have anything to add to that?

 

JoAnn Fisher  07:34

No, just so we have a mix of folks who participate in the club. Some are Community of Christ, some are seekers, some are just friends who want this for their kids.

 

Brittany Mangelson  07:50

Yeah, I definitely think that the the need and the interest is super broad. So it's really good that you guys are covering a whole variety of people and topics, etc. So now let's let's talk about the structure a little bit of these gatherings? Do you always follow the same format? Can you just walk us through what a what a typical gathering looks like?

 

JoAnn Fisher  08:13

We do the same format each time. And we think that's important that the same folks in the same format happen so that kids can kind of get a sense of security about what book club is about who's going to be there about what we do. It's a, it lasts about 30 minutes. And I think it's a powerful 30 minutes. And we briefly discuss and have a little sharing time about the book we read the week before. Sometimes they have a little assignment to do during the week and so we talked about how those went. Then we introduce the books, we read the book. And then the book is followed by a peace practice. And, and those are wonderful and exciting and so

 

Karin Peter  09:04

And crazy sometimes. 

 

JoAnn Fisher  09:05

And crazy. Yeah, this week is just really exciting. And I'm, I tend to be the book reader and when Karen is sharing her screen. I really can't see the kids very much. So Karen is observing. And then when a piece practice is happening, which is the part that Karen the does, I'm able to watch the kids and see how engaged they are or what's happening. And it's it's been delightful in a surprise many times. And for me personally, it's an area of ministry that I really enjoy.

 

Brittany Mangelson  09:53

So I'm curious, Karin, what are some of the peace practices that you've done with the kids?

 

Karin Peter  09:58

Well, they're all mindfulness practices and you know, spiritual practices that we do in, in Community of Christ and religious community, even the ones that come back to us that are traditional Orthodox Christian spiritual practices, those spiritual practices, we have borrowed liberally from faith communities, and ethnic communities and cultural communities around the globe. Christianity has always borrowed. So these mindfulness practices come from so many different traditions, if you really want to trace them back, as well as ones we created ourselves. But they help the kids focus on specific areas. What is it to build peace? In my own self? What is it to kind of be able to calm myself to be able to put myself together when I'm fragmented or frustrated? And or they'll focus on peace and calm in relationships. What is healing and peaceful in that in family and community? Or they focus in, how do I build peace in in the world? What does that look like peace in the world or peace in creation, this next week could be peace and creation. And so the mindfulness practices all help kids kind of focus on those in ways that are fun and kids are, they're so great about diving in with their imaginations. So whether it's imagining what the inside of their heart looks like, if it was a castle, and then drawing it on a piece of paper, or whether it's drumming in rhythmic sequence, to what they hear, or, like, last week, giving a stuffed animal a ride on their belly as they did deep breathing, laying on their back on the floor, whatever it may be, it's geared around helping them equate that to what does that look like building peace, either in myself in my, in my area around me or in the world? That's what they're about.

 

Brittany Mangelson  11:59

I absolutely love that. And having witnessed a lot of these practices, just seeing how the kids get engaged is so great, because so many, so many adults are really resistant to practices and mindfulness and meditation and yet to see a bunch of little kids, you know, six and under, just get really jazzed about it and get very much into it. And when you implement movement, and rhythm and things like that, too, it's just, yeah, the variety I really appreciate.

 

Karin Peter  12:28

Well, I'm not real jazzed about spiritual practices in the traditional sense.  I mean, we do these and we start each one with these three peaceful breaths. And I feel that and I've noticed that it's changed me, because when I do Project Zion interviews now before we start, I tell people, okay, we're gonna do a peaceful breath. Just like we would do at book club. You know, I can, I can call myself in that same way.

 

Brittany Mangelson  12:56

Yeah, I know that Grant has done it to where if he's getting frustrated, he'll just do a couple breaths. And then he usually still gets mad, but at least

 

Karin Peter  13:10

at least we've tried.

 

Brittany Mangelson  13:12

We're making progress. Exactly, exactly. So you mentioned the piece practices. And you talked a little bit about the books, but I'm curious to know where you're finding these resources. And I know that there's a lot of concern with copyright and things like that online. But tell us just a little bit more about the resources that you've used to run these book clubs.

 

Karin Peter  13:33

Yeah, so I handle sourcing the books. JoAnn and I kind of split up the tasks at at book club, but sourcing the books, we both ask people we ask around plus work, grandma. So we've read books to grandkids and such. And so there are some that we kind of knew of, but I did the things most parents do if you want to have good books that are relevant and current and that teach good principles and practices. So I searched on Google, I searched parenting blogs, I talked to people I knew. I just tried to get as many different voices in there as I could on places that I could go and look. And I told people what I was looking for and it's amazing. Once you go on Amazon and start looking at anything like books to teach children about justice, well, then all kind of, you by one and there's 107 recommendations next week, so it just kind of grew. I went on my library website, my my local library. I talked to all kinds of people about books because I wanted, I didn't want just the typical storybooks, we really wanted to focus on what does it look like to live the enduring principles in these, in these ways in our own lives. So yeah, there's all kinds of great lists out if you just start looking and digging.

 

Brittany Mangelson  15:02

And I really like that because again, you're not only getting books from church, right? None of them are from church, none are from Community of Christ, which means that, which tells me that our message is relevant. And these are conversations that we are teaching at quote unquote, church, that are conversations that are happening in other places. So these principles that we have these values that we have, are really universal. And they're, it's a message that is worth sharing, because other people outside of church are sharing the message. So that's, that's really awesome. 

 

Karin Peter  15:37

And you can get books on really relevant topics. When Black Lives Matters started being something that we were talking about in in our community life, we looked for books that had to do with the black experience and with skin colour and racism, and what does that look like in. And so we've really tried to address things as they've, as they've come up and me coming up in a couple of weeks, we're going to have one that's topical. Now when Ruth Ginsburg chewed 100 sticks of gum, that's going to be one of our books, we had a book that was from the Standing Rock Reservation about they're protesting the Keystone oil pipeline, we've had books that really address things that are important in in community. And that's in the news that kids hear about peripherally, but maybe don't have an opportunity to really process. But it's been good we, we challenge gender roles with books on coming up that really does that we talk about the very diverse ways we have family, we have books that have characters from all different cultures and ethnicities, we have one that's coming up from Nepal, we've had China and Korea and, and all different ones, Joanne got to learn some Cherokee in one that we did, because it was all Cherokee vocabulary, which was fabulous to listen to, oh my gosh, we just really tried to be as diverse as we possibly can, in the types of books that we've chosen. We just had a book of poetry that was written by an African American author that addressed issues of slavery, segregation, the Civil Rights Movement, and Rosa Parks, and kids responded to those poems. It was marvelous.

 

Brittany Mangelson  17:37

That's really amazing. And again, just, I really liked what you said about how kids are hearing these conversations, I know that my kids have heard these conversations, just my husband and I are, you know, having podcasts or the news on or whatever. But then, not necessarily. I mean, I don't necessarily know how to engage them and age appropriate language. So if you have a children's book that is directly addressing these issues, from an age appropriate place, I just think that that's so helpful. And I'm, I'm assuming from a kid's perspective, probably makes the world a little less scary. You know, you have all these really big conversations going on in their homes, but then if they're addressed in a, in a children's book, it just makes sense to them. So I really appreciate how intentional these books, the selection of these books has been.

 

JoAnn Fisher  18:29

Brittany, we also share the book a week ahead of time, so that the parents have an opportunity to vet the book themselves. And they can also add to their own library, or they're always aware, the book is never a complete and utter surprise.

 

Brittany Mangelson  18:50

Yeah, I think that's really important, too. That is awesome. Which kind of brings me into my next question. I'm wondering, what are some of the best practices that you try to implement as you are doing this book club? So I'm thinking that there's people who are listening? Maybe they want to get something started, you know, what, what are the things that you need to make sure that you have in place, especially when working with youth, with children, what are some of the best practices that you have realized need to be implemented?

 

Karin Peter  19:24

JoAnn's our youth worker registration lady, so JoAnn?

 

JoAnn Fisher  19:28

Yeah, so there were two of us and we request that the parents remain in the room. They don't have to remain on the screen, but they need to be there so that we're following best practices within Community of Christ. We also, you know, we have already talked about copyright and getting permission to use the books. And then like I said, before, we publish a list of the books so we purchased the books two ways, Karin buys a Kindle. addition, I purchase a hardback edition. That's our insurance that if somebody loses their screen, the other person isn't left hanging. And, and we can complete the book club. But it is, those are all things that I think are important. We've tried very hard to give the kids an opportunity to introduce themselves to one another, and call them by name and interact with them ourselves. And we've seen just tremendous growth and changes in this little group of kids who didn't know each other at all, to kids who, when the club is over, we have to encourage them to sign off because they just want to keep hanging out.

 

Brittany Mangelson  20:55

That's adorable. So I'm, I'm wondering, too, as you've gone along, has there been anything that has surprised you? Or have you had any major learning experiences as you've gone? Especially as you've tried to implement some of these best practices, you know, what is what has surprised you?

 

Karin Peter  21:14

Well, kids will always surprise you, whether it's your own kids or somebody else's kids will say things that are totally surprising. I think, I think we've had a lot of fun with some of the ways kids have interacted with us, and some of the ways they've interacted with each other. So at first, you know, they're all on this screen, it looks like the Brady Bunch kind of image. We're all on zoom. Now we know what that looks like. So if there's eight or nine squares of kids up there, they're looking at us and they're talking to us. But then after the first few weeks, I could tell that they're starting to notice each other. And so they would come to book club with a stuffed animal or a toy, or whatever. And while we're talking, they would like shove their stuffed animal up to the camera so that all of a sudden, all you see is that the giant Minecraft, a zombie or whatever the current thing is, and then another kid sees it. And then they go run and get their stuff down. And all and pretty soon, we're on a tangent, where we just stop and say, "Okay, everybody has a step down about let's share." and we just take the opportunity because it isn't about us following our agenda. It's about them having the opportunity to create community. And so the fact that they would hijack book club for five or six minutes with their toys, to share with one another, I think is marvelous. It says that they're noticing what each other and they're trying to somehow engage in this unfamiliar away and make it their own. And I think that was a good learning for us. Plus, they do weird, fun, quirky things. And there's, there's nothing as wonderful as when that happens. Yeah. And we try to, we try to maintain confidentiality with the kids. So we only communicate about book club through with the kids through a messenger app with the moms and dads. That way, it's not out on Facebook, where people could somehow get ahold of information we don't want, we don't want that kind of a thing happening. So we try to keep that information close. But periodically, we'll have kids postings in that messenger app, and they can communicate through there and that's where we do all of our announcements and that kind of thing. So I'm not going to share any names. But we did have a kid who was listening as there was sharing going on, and people were sharing kind of what they wanted to do when they grew up. And this kid was making connections and he says, "Oh, well, you know, what, if I did this, and so and so wants to be that, and then we could do that. And then we could help that person because they want to be whatever." And all of a sudden watching this kid make these connections was it was just heartwarming that he was so interested not just in himself and what he wanted to be, but how he could help other people in what they wanted to be. It was just really delightful.

 

Brittany Mangelson  24:17

Yeah, there's those heartwarming moments. And then I remember once my son was eating macaroni and cheese, he hadn't finished his lunch yet and another kid was like, "Is Grant eating mac and cheese?" and then the whole conversation got hijacked for like, five minutes on, "Well okay, now what did everyone else have for lunch?" Everyone went around and shared.

 

Karin Peter  24:39

Yeah. Yes. It's community and that's, you know, that's what they're doing. And, and that's what's so important and, and that's why what Joanne said about, you know, some of these kids are Community of Christ, some are not when we started. We just talked to some families and we talked to your family. We talked to some house church families and said, "Would you like to let your kids participate in a pilot?" We want to see if this will even work. And, and then it just grew. And so if it's somebody that said, I've got some relatives over here, would they be sure you know, well, what about this? Sure, or Well, now we have a book club starting in Arizona, and it's an ecumenical start with Community of Christ and the UCC local pastor about ecumenical ministries, they're going to do one together, because I mean, I know there's kids in Arizona, but I don't know if you've heard this. There's a lot of older people. I'm not sure how many kids they're going to have, but they're going to give it a shot and see, see what that looks like to do that together.

 

Brittany Mangelson  25:42

Yeah, that's, that's so great. And I really appreciate it from a parent's perspective. You know, there was four or five months where book club was the only interaction with kids Grant's age, my son's age that he was getting, you know, he wasn't getting interaction with anyone else. And so the fact that, you know, we could stop and just shoot the breeze about whatever the kids wanted to talk about. And then also have a lesson that reinforced values that I'm trying to teach in my home. And then to have that paired with a peace practice that was grounded in meditation, I just really have to say that I deeply appreciate it, because you are providing something that I would not be able to provide by myself. I mean, I can read my kid a book by myself, but he doesn't, he wants to be with kids. He wants to be with other adults,

 

JoAnn Fisher  26:33

 Right, yeah. 

 

Karin Peter  26:34

Yeah. It's that community.

 

Brittany Mangelson  26:36

Yeah. And, you know, I guess we've already kind of talked about this, but just the general reaction of the kids have the kids enjoyed book club and then what is the response been from the parents?

 

JoAnn Fisher  26:51

I think they enjoy it. They're really participatory. And like I said, once they got used to us and each other, sometimes they wanted to linger at the end, because they didn't quite want it to be over. I think we don't hear a whole lot from parents. I mean, we always invite them to send comments or suggestions. That doesn't usually happen. However, we do get notes of regret, when there are conflicting plans, and they're not able to attend, you know, we'll be there next week. Have fun, give her a love to the group kind of thing. So I, I think I haven't gotten any feedback, I don't think Karen has, that parents object to being in the room for the 30 minutes. It's not a very long time. We try to be mindful of, we're putting another Ask kind of parent to stay, but it's important to us. And it also allows parents an opportunity to watch their kids interact with us and, and observe what's being said and done. So then if they want to build conversation, around something that's happened in book club, they can. And so I just think it's a really unique opportunity. And, and it's been wonderful. I think it's going well, and I dig it, I wake up happy on book club day, then I'm gonna see my little pals.

 

Karin Peter  28:24

They really are fun. We've had a lot of kids participate. Not all kids participate every week, people are busy. People have things going on. But we normally have between four and eight kids. Now we've got over 20 that have participated, some have only come once or twice. Some just come intermittently, and some are there almost all the time. When school started back up, we knew it was going to be rough, because everybody's on such different schedules because we have kids from Washington, California, Utah, Idaho, is that it?

 

JoAnn Fisher  29:03

 We've had some from Montana.

 

Karin Peter  29:05

Missouri and Montana. Yeah. So a lot of different places a lot of different school systems. And so we've now move from a weekday morning to a weekend to see if that's easier for parents and we were just talking about it today. Maybe we need to have more than one time that we do a book club during a week so parents can decide what's best for their kids and schedules. But we decided to continue once school started up because school is different this year than it has ever been for kids before. And so if kids were in kindergarten or first grade last year and had a normal school year, up until March, this year looks so much different. We wanted something that was consistent for them. And so we're committed to keep doing it as long as it's a worthwhile endeavor for kids.

 

Brittany Mangelson  29:54

Yeah, I think that that's really important. And now that they've created community, I mean, they're friends. You Providing that place for them to be able to chat with one another, I think is really important. And again, I just really appreciate it. So any other tips that you have? I mean, this isn't necessarily a congregation or even a mission, some of its doing it. But if if a congregation or a mission center wanted to engage in this type of ministry, what should they know before diving in?

 

Karin Peter  30:28

So I think, well, we didn't know anything before we dove in. So really, you don't know anything before you dive in, and you just dive in and learn as you go. But there are some things that we have figured out. One is that the most time consuming thing about this is researching the books, writing to get permission to use from the publishers, and making sure that you're following copyright, church copyright law, and keeping everything legal, that's the most time consuming part. The other part is an hour out of the week, because we practice for half an hour. It sounds silly that you practice for book club, but JoAnn. And I go through it as if it was regular, like a dress rehearsal to make sure that that the book does what we're hoping it it does that the questions we're asking are good, open discussion questions not, we don't want to lead kids to answers, we want the questions that we asked to be where kids are exploring their own thoughtful reflections about the story. And that the peace practice works, because sometimes a really great idea in your head just doesn't translate so well into a really great idea online with children. And so we we do practice. So there is that time involved. And then I think it's the it's the communication with kids and parents and inviting people and reminding them, we have discovered that communication is essential. And we over communicate, if anything. We send reminders during the week, don't forget book clubs on this day, and then we send that day, don't forget book clubs in an hour. And those kinds of things. Because we know parents and kids aren't, we all get busy. And we can forget that. But other than that, other than those basic, you know, the time suck of doing the research, the thing that I think is most important to know when you're going to start is that it's the same building blocks of community that you want with your friends. It's the same deal, it's providing that same opportunity for kids that you want a place where you can be yourself, where you show up, and people are happy to see you where you have a conversation and people aren't judging you. And, and you leave that half an hour engagement feeling good and feeling healthy about your relationships with others. And that's, that's really the the key to that, I think, and I think have a mission center wanted to sponsor this, that would be a great thing. If a congregation had kids that wanted to do it, that's great. But gosh, just experiment or email, JoAnn or me and we would happily send you all of our outlines and our book list and our publisher list and our copyright information, we will send you the whole ball of wax and that way. You're way ahead of where we were when we started. 

 

JoAnn Fisher  33:31

Right. 

 

Karin Peter  33:31

We'll even, you can come be a visitor, we've had visitors to book club. We had visitors the other day who are planning to start theirs, you can come and sit in and we'll introduce you and you can do the piece practice and listen to the story and see what it's all about.

 

Brittany Mangelson  33:49

That's great. I love that you're willing to share your knowledge because as you've said, you kind of went into this totally rookie, totally green not knowing what you were doing just because you made it up when which again, speaks to just the organic nature of ministry and how often it's just a response to a need that is already happening. And you just use the tools that you have and kind of jump off the cliff and say, here we go. Sometimes it works it works great which this did!

 

Karin Peter  34:17

This did this did, but part of it, you know, when I really wanted to do this, I know that I'm not all that kid friendly. I never have been. It's never been a goal of mine. I'm just aware of that about myself and so one of my first thoughts was this would be really great for kids. Who do I know, that could actually be that kid friendly face? Because my original thought was get somebody else totally on screen with the kids. And that's why I asked JoAnn and because JoAnn works for the church in a mission center. Her mission center president was like yeah, if she wants to do that, that's great. And so most of the kids that we invited were out of the area where JoAnn serves but What another I think interesting learning is that even though JoAnn is really kid friendly, and I'm not, kids are okay with that they're okay with who I am. I mean, I'm not like horrible to them or anything, but there just, kids are okay with the fact that I'm not the super cuddly kid friendly person. That's alright. And you don't have to be you just have to be who you are. 

 

Brittany Mangelson  34:52

Yeah, exactly. 

 

Karin Peter  35:27

It's the authenticity that kids are looking for.

 

JoAnn Fisher  35:30

Yeah. And it's okay, then I'm kind of oober, grandma. And that's alright, too. And, and it's fun. And I have to say, doing it with Karin, Karin, I have done a lot of ministry together. And so there's a level of trust and a level of spontaneity that we're able to do with each other, and honesty that we can say, "Hey, I think this is working, or hh, my gosh, that failed!" But we can, we can have those kinds of contacts. So I appreciate even the practice, where we have 30 minutes with each other, thinking about the kids talking about the kids doing what we're doing for the group, and then actually executing together, what we planned and watching the kids respond, which is huge. So it feels really authentic. Not that we don't do authentic ministry, but this feels organic, and kind of who we are. It's fun. For me, it is fun. And I'm happy to do it. 

 

Brittany Mangelson  36:47

Yeah, I absolutely love that. And Karin, I will just say that your witty, kind of sassy sense of humor is one that my daughters really appreciate, so they're 10. They're starting to be able to, you know, like, just pick up on stuff like that, so I think it's great. Alright, well, I am so again, grateful for this ministry and excited but it could expand and go different places, you know, if other groups wanted to get something started, we will for sure leave your email addresses and contact information in the show notes of the podcast so people can contact you. But is there anything else that we, that you didn't share that you would like to leave us with?

 

Karin Peter  37:32

Yeah, if you have a kid between the age of four and eight, who would like to join a book club, and email us, you're more than welcome. Your kids are more than welcome to participate wherever you are, and if we get too many kids on the screen, we'll simply start another round. That's the best way.

 

JoAnn Fisher  37:54

And I would like to invite men to participate in a book club, because they are able to read books to and this doesn't just have to be grandma's doing it. 

 

Brittany Mangelson  38:10

It's true. It's true. Alright, well, thank you so much, you too. And again, I'm just really excited that this is a thing and that it's something that is already starting to grow. And that it's an idea that maybe we've planted in people's heads to just say that, you know, you don't need a whole lot of resources, you don't need a whole lot of preparation. I mean considering, you know, like a big youth camp or something. This is a smaller scale, but it's a more consistent experience for the kids, which I think is really important. 

 

Karin Peter  38:45

We can send you all the helps. We can help you get one started where you are. 

 

JoAnn Fisher  38:48

That's right. That's right. 

 

Brittany Mangelson  38:52

Awesome. Okay, well, thanks so much. And I'm sure that well, for sure. We're going to hear more from Karin but I'm sure that we'll have JoAnn again at some point. So thanks so much listeners. Again, this is a Steamers and Sodas episode where we talk all about children's ministry and how innovative and creative it can be. Take care!

 

Josh Mangelson  39:21

Thanks for listening to Project Zion Podcast. Subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcast, Stitcher, or whatever podcast streaming service you use. And while you are there, give us a five star rating. Project Zion Podcast is sponsored by Latter-day Seeker Ministries of Community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Latter-day Seeker Ministries, or Community of Christ. Music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinze.