by Sean Kershaw (and delivered at House of Mercy on July 3, 2011)
“Two things came to mind when I thought about House of Mercy — and specifically the meaning of the youngster program.
First: I do a lot of public speaking, and one of the fundamental “rules” is to do everything in your power NOT to follow someone who’s better and more interesting than you are. You always want to follow the boring, humorless, drone-a-tron. Show up. Speak up. You win.
So here I am following Susie Abramson, and I can’t think of anything that improves upon what she said so eloquently. “We don’t do kid’s programming. And we won’t program your kids.” Perfect. And to the point.
But maybe that is my point. That in teaching, or pretending to teach Sunday School, I not only get to work with some amazing young people, I get to follow the likes of Susie and D’Ann — and their talent makes me — and all of us — better. Did you know that D’Ann found the “God Ball” and brought it to class? And that Susie can juggle, recite scripture, and do instant-dramatizations of Bible passages? I show up, follow their lead, and everyone wins.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, I also work in public policy, and in policy — and religion — we tend to isolate kids and adolescents, and then wonder why they are shocked or unprepared for adulthood. I’m grateful that House of Mercy celebrates young people, but doesn’t pretend like they can’t be critical thinkers in the process. Or that they can’t join us in singing and worship. Even though I was horrified to catch my daughter shopping for girls shoes with the Target iPhone app during the service once – I’m grateful that she can join me and sing with me. Every kid crying or fussing in the service is music to my ears. Our kids learn as we do.
I know what it’s like to run a membership organization — or a dismembership cooperative. Every contribution of time, ideas — and money matters. Enormously.
Don’t support House of Mercy because of our kid’s programming — at least not on a Sunday when I’m teaching. Support House of Mercy because our kids are always learning from us, and that nothing worth continuing is necessarily cheap.”
Support the House of Mercy Youngster Program with a one time or scheduled donation.