June 2016 (1)

Our Mission:
Supporting lifelong faith formation in the home and congregation.

From the President's Desk

This month, board member and Network Advocate for region 6, the Rev. Juli Lejman-Guy suggested we interview a young woman who is actively involved in her congregation in Bellevue, Ohio. Elaina Eskins is a high school senior and may have graduated by the time you are seeing this e-news. After reading her answers to the 6 questions, I can only dream what plans God may have for her and where her faith, love for the church, and passion for teaching may take her. Elaina's answers strike a chord for us as Christian educators. We have much to learn, reflect on, and remember.
I am in awe of her wisdom especially with her answer to Number 4. Elaina's parents raised her in the faith and were also involved in the ministry of the church reminding me of the important task parents and grandparents have in being immersed in lifelong faith formation.
I hope you enjoy meeting Elaina as much as I have. Many thanks to Pastor Juli for introducing us to Elaina.
Debbie Streicher
President of the CENetwork

6 Questions and a Cup of Tea with...Elaina Eskins
My name is Elaina Eskins and I am currently a senior in high school. I have taught Sunday School at my church, St. John's Lutheran Church, in Bellevue, Ohio for four years now. I have always felt as if I have learned more from my class than they have learned from me over the years because I have been blessed to be able to witness some of the most precious and pure moments during my time with my 3-, 4-, & 5-year old class. In my free time I enjoy volunteering in my community, playing tennis, and reading whenever I get the chance.

1. Can you describe your call to ministry?

My call to ministry is something that is hard to exactly pinpoint as a direct moment in my life simply because I have always been surrounded by faith. I grew up attending Sunday School classes where both of my parents taught so that is where I have always felt at home. Many of my passions in life either involve working with children or helping others, so for me, teaching Sunday School was the perfect fit. It has proved to be my perfect fit because for the past four years I have been blessed enough to start off every week in one of the most positive ways, working with children.

2. What is the best part of your ministry now?

I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith from the perspective of being a teacher because the children make things so simple that they sometimes teach me the lessons, too. One of my favorite lessons to date was a traditional conversation about loving our neighbors as ourselves. But during this particular lesson a young boy in my class raised his hand and asked, "Why would people be mean to friends? That's not nice." It was such a simple question but I truly had no answer initially for this sweet boy because I myself couldn't understand why we couldn't be nice to everyone either. It is during these exact moments when I am thankful that I received my calling to teach and guide these wonderful, young, and bright children. 

3. What is one fact about you that would surprise people?

In my church I also read the lessons once a month. I think that my surprising fact for people would be that even though I speak in front of the church often, I have high public speaking anxiety. Whenever I am going up to the pulpit to read I am overwhelmed by a sense of panic that I am going to mess up or read the foreign lands incorrectly. This secret of mine remains so because once I begin to read I suddenly feel at peace and thankfully my fears subsides.  
4.  What are three things Christian educators need to keep their eye on?

  • Curriculum: One aspect of teaching that I have been consistently guilty of is depending on my Sunday School curriculum too heavily. Yes, our books provide great ideas for lessons but for me personally, some of the greatest lessons and conversations have happened off the book.
  • Involvement: Involvement not only in our church but our students' lives, too, is something that I believe should be present. Christian educators should be aware of what events their students are excited for, or even nervous about. These everyday conversations in the classroom can also provide some great connections and teaching experiences too.
  • Community inclusions: One of the activities that I get most excited about in my church is "Bring a Friend to Sunday School Day". This specific day is always fun for all because we see new faces in our classrooms. This is a wonderful experience for everyone involved because our kiddos then get a chance to share their faith with their friends which in turns makes their faith stronger.

5. What are some of your favorite resources?

The Spark Children's Bible. The kiddos are always eager to listen to the stories then search for their friend Spark in the pages.

I also like to reference the short storybook titled Children's Letters to God because it helps me get into the mindset of the younger kids and what exactly is going on in their thoughts.

6. How can we pray for you?

This fall I will be going away to Bowling Green State University to begin my studies to become a Speech Pathologist. I will thankfully receive prayers for guidance in my new endeavors as well as for bravery in my new environments. I am excited for this new experience but I would also love the help and guidance of my fellow "church nerds."

Contact Us
CENetwork of the ELCA 
(formerly LACE)
P.O. Box 9304
Rochester, MN 55903

  Phone messages may be left at 
(507) 721-0057  

Prayer Pause
Creator God, keep watch over us as we travel this summer.  Keep us in your care and return us home safely with new hearts to love and serve you.  As we walk the path of discipleship, we ask you to send your Spirit to guide us, to be present with us, and to help us remember that you are always with us and we are never alone. 

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Cummings
CENetwork Chaplain


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Christian Education Network of the ELCA
Vision Statement


Building a community which equips, encourages, and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world by:

  • Providing resources and educational opportunities
  • Facilitating communication and conversation 
  • Offering networking, idea sharing, and mutual support
  • Nurturing spiritual growth