A new group - the Parents of Newborns and Toddlers
Planning Group (PNTPG) - ministers to young families attending the Unitarian
Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College, Pennsylvania. Director of Religious Education
Jean Wiant said, "I first organized the planning group to discuss what we wanted
to do as a group for the many young families (seventeen at last count) that we
have at our church.
We decided to send an invitation to the Parents
of Newborns and Toddlers (PNT's) to come to the church on a Saturday morning for
conversation, refreshments, and a discussion of what they would like us to do
for them. We also wanted to know
how we could keep them connected to the church.
The first gathering was very successful. The PNT's gave us their ideas of what
they would like at their gatherings; they were grateful that we were thinking
about them and the needs of their families. The group decided to meet once a month
on a Saturday morning. They wanted
to have time to get to know each other.
They wanted activities for their older children so that they (the PNT's)
could visit with each other. They
wanted to be able to have the time and opportunity to share ideas with other
The PNT's decided that for their first year, they did
not want to pursue structured programming.
At the end of this year they plan to discuss possible programming options
for next year. Possibilities
include the "Evensong for Families" curriculum, bringing in guest speakers from
the community, starting a babysitting co-op, offering a Mom's Night Out, setting
up an after school pick-up, providing surrogate grandparent support, offering
shared time in the nursery, child/baby drumming, and having a once-a-month
Since that first meeting, the PNT's have met on the
first Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. At least two members from the PNTPG are
there beforehand to set up, during the gathering to provide activities for older
children or to participate in the discussions, and afterward to clean up. The PNT's have been very grateful that
someone noticed their needs and provided the opportunity for them to gather
At one of the gatherings, a parent brought in books and
clothing that her children had outgrown.
She offered these items to the other parents for their children, and all
of the items went home with someone else.
The mother who brought the items was able to pass on some history while
handing on the items for others to use.
The PNTNG has felt good about providing the opportunity
for the PNT's to gather. The best
reward though, has been the opportunity to spend time in shared ministry with
the young families who are so often in a rush to keep up with their busy
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Last updated on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.
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