As it turns out, I have actually been doing quite a lot of crafting as part of my theological education!! Here’s the story:
Candler requires 1st year students to work 4 hours a week in a clinical or social setting (a hospital, a homeless shelter, etc.). This program is called Contextual Education (or ConEd for short). I chose to work at the United Methodist Children’s Home. We also have a one hour class every week with our site supervisor (for us, this is the chaplain at the UMCH) and all the other students who work at our same site (there are 7 of us at the UMCH).
I originally signed up to do my four hours a week on Monday nights in the art room, but it’s been hard to get a full four hours there, so I’ve also recently started going for a couple hours Sunday evening. I attend the chapel service at 5 (which almost all of the kids attend) and then the book study that one of the girls in my ConEd group does. (The book is Hill Harper’s [of CSI: NY] Letters to a Young Sister.)
I also went last Thursday night for a movie night they were putting on for the young kids that live in short-term family housing. The UMCH is mostly group homes (“cottages”) for youth aged 14+. These kids either have no families, or the state has removed them from their families. The UMCH also have an independent living program (for kids over 17, where they live in a cottage w/o an adult and learn to cook for themselves and get a job) and transitional living program (where they live in apartments off campus, have jobs, and go to college). In addition, there are a few houses on the campus called short-term family housing, which homeless families can live in for a short period (usually up to 90 days).
They just hired a recent Candler grad to oversee the family housing program, and she put on a movie night for the kids. We had pizza and popcorn and the kids laid out on blankets in the common room and watched “Bedtime Stories” that we projected onto a screen. It was such a fun time! The kids were really sweet and grateful, and kept asking when we could do something like that again!
Anyway, but mostly at the Children’s Home I’ve been working in the art room, which is awesome! It’s run by the world’s best retired couple, B.J. and Cheryl. (B.J. actually spent several years in a children’s home as a kid, which is why he first got involved with the UMCH. He had a doctorate in computer studies or something, but decided to start sculpting a few years ago. Cheryl reminds me a little of Ms. Frizzle.)
The Children’s Home wanted to make Christmas cards from the kids’ art to sell, so we’ve been working on Christmas art the last couple of weeks. (We ate milk & cookies as we did it and listened to Christmas carols). Below are several of the art projects I made to give the kids some ideas of what they could make.
I’m also including a pic of two cards I made and a collage I made as a visual aid for a presentation I had to give in my pastoral care class on Wednesday. Enjoy!