Lansing brings fresh approach to youth ministry

By | October 14, 2009

Lansing, who resides in Milwaukee, will present two sectionals at the 2009 Leadership Convocation, Nov. 3 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

11 presenters to speak at convocation

ALLOUEZ — The 2009 Leadership Convocation will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, at the KI Convention Center, Green Bay. Cost is $45 per person.

The convocation, partially funded by the Bishop’s Appeal, features three rounds of sectionals. In addition to Sean Lansing, presenters are:

• Gregory Pierce, president and co-publisher of ACTA Publications;

• Diann Wimmer, adjunct faculty member at St. Norbert and Silver Lake colleges;

• Fr. John Doerfler, vicar general and chancellor for the Green Bay Diocese;

• Dr. Paul Wadell, professor of religious studies at St. Norbert College;

• Barbara Sella, associate director for Respect Life and Social Concerns at the Wisconsin Catholic Conference;

• John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference;

• Mary Ann Bayer, a longtime educator with master’s degrees in biology and theological studies;

• LaVon Rader, a longtime women’s workshop and retreat facilitator;

• Fr. Richard Klingeisen, diocesan coordinator of Health Services and member of the pastoral team at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Manitowoc;

• Kathleen Klos, an attorney at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, a non-profit organization in St. Paul.

Online registration is available at Walk-ins are accepted.

“Morality” is the theme for the convocation, which opens with liturgy with Bishop David Ricken presiding. Music will be led by Jesuit Fr. Robert Dufford of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. He has composed numerous worship songs including, “Sing to the Mountains,” “All the Ends of the Earth” and “Be Not Afraid.” Exhibitors will be on hand with products for review and purchase.

Lansing will present “Preparing Youth for Lives of Justice” in the morning session. Prior to his current position, he worked in youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and continues to volunteer with youth programs at his parish. The title of his talk is a little misleading, he said.

“The time for young people to live lives of justice is now,” he said. “I share practical strategies to help youth ministers to engage young people. How do you become a person of justice? How do you infuse the concept of justice and peace?

“What is much more common in our church is to get young people involved in service, but not do the reflecting on our Catholic social teaching,” he added. “There needs to be a connection to the service.”

Lansing, a graduate of Marquette University with a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Francis Seminary, co-authored the book “Ministry Resources for Justice and Service.” Catholic social teaching isn’t taught as much as it should be, he said.

“We, as a parish community, don’t treat justice as essential as the sacraments and the Gospel,” he said, “but our doctrines tell us it is equally as important.”

Lansing recently presented a four-hour version of the workshop. In addition to offering useful strategies, he hopes to connect youth ministers to resources.

“There will be people who recognize that they are doing some of these things,” he said. “We can always be more intentional about the connection to justice. I will share some things they can do immediately with the young people and some long-term strategies.”

Lansing’s afternoon workshop, “Making Summer Service Trips Last a Lifetime,” will present tips for helping young people integrate service experiences into their lives. He has firsthand experience as coordinator of Young Neighbors in Action (YNIA), the Center for Ministry Development’s summer service program.

“For five or six days, these kids have personal and powerful faith experiences, but when we get back, we get really busy,” he said. “It’s important to bring them back together to discover the insights they learned from their experiences. There are little things we can do to help the kids articulate those insights.”

YNIA is offering programs at 18 sites during the summer of 2010, including an environmental justice week, June 20-26, in the diocese. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, De Pere, will serve as the host site. Teens will learn about environmental issues from a Catholic faith perspective while doing service that helps protect the earth.


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