Transfiguration has a new director of Children’s Ministry, Eileen Chandler. Eileen brings passion, enthusiasm and a great deal of experience to the job. Eileen has had a long history of supervisory and high level management roles in hospitals and business venues. Her career included 43 year in nursing. As part of her nursing training, she visited ill and special needs children. Eileen recalls one boy of around three or four who walked up to her, gazed into her eyes, and established an immediate connection. The other nurses were astounded as the boy had not reached out to anyone for months.
This special connection with children extended into her personal as well as professional life. She and her family took in a 15 month old foster child who lived with their family for almost 10 years.
In the area of Christian Children’s’ ministry Eileen became involved with St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee when her son Christopher was not quite 5 and her daughter Carolyn was almost 2 ½. Eileen was soon appointed Christian Education Director. Eileen states of this experience, “It was like a part-time job as teachers were recruited, oriented and trained, not to mention my learning curve! I taught pre-school on up, having fun with the curriculum, and even leading an adult group (not my idea) for I am not a cradle Episcopalian having been raised Catholic. I had a lot of scriptural catching up to do.”
Eileen feels that her biggest challenge as Director of Children’s Ministries at Transfiguration will be to build a dedicated Sunday School teacher base. Two keys to sustain success in the building of the base will be instilling confidence in the teachers and offering fun training.
Recently Jana Sundin from the Diocesan Office came for a visit to offer ideas for building the Children’s Ministry. Her suggestion included that Eileen should write her own job description as director after consultation with Fr. Bob and Bobbie Lafford.
Summing up her plans Eileen stated, “There may be enough energy and resources surrounding nursery development for me to separate from those initiatives and focus on family faith formation through experiential learning and family worship. Specifically, I'd like to guide our efforts toward a lectionary based curriculum that transfers to home life and to enhance children/youth involvement in church worship. . . for example, the use of music and musicians.”