By The Reverend Christine V. Hides
“Is it always like this?” I was asked as I showed a visiting family to the Sunday school classrooms one recent morning. On the way there we encountered a joyful traffic jam of parents, teachers, children, and choir members in the central stairway. The short answer to their question is, thanks be to God, “Yes!” Sunday mornings and midweek gatherings are energetic and vibrant opportunities to delight in God’s love alongside friends and neighbors.Vibrant chapel and classroom experiences inspire faith, generosity, and service throughout the week..
Last summer, the Children and Family Ministry Team set a measurable goal of increasing frequency of attendance by 10% this school year. I am thrilled to report that we are exceeding this growth goal—especially in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade years, where there is often a drop-off in attendance. We have also had a steady stream of visiting families.
This kind of growth and engagement is driven by a number of intentional improvements made in Children and Family Ministry. Here are just a few of many highlights:
- Beloved traditions, like the Habitat, have been updated with new resources and materials. Be sure to visit “The World Jesus Knew” on Sunday, March 8 during Fellowship.
- New innovations, like the Faith234 youth group for second, third, and fourth graders have provided opportunities for fellowship and prayer. We hope to expand Faith234 into a school year long ministry next year, if the budget allows.
- Every child is warmly welcomed by greeters, ushers, and our check in leaders. Our visitor follow up improvements have resulted in more visitors returning and connecting with other ministries.
- New opportunities for families to worship and learn together are being developed, including the All Ages Praying by Painting Lenten event on Tuesday, March 10. You are invited!
- The Holy Spirit regularly surprises us! Last week I received an email from the author of Picturing God, the book which inspired the current 4th grade Bible study and art project. The author read about our project online and reached out to ask if she could visit. What a delight! The fourth grade art will be displayed on Sunday, March 1.
None of the above is possible without the seventy+ teachers who guide and care for the children and the dozens of leaders who guide the strategic plan for Children and Family Ministry. Thanks to the faithful support of the congregation, the leaders, families, and especially the children whom Kenilworth Union Church has promised to nurture in faith, the vision of vibrant, multi-generational faith formation ministry is emerging before our eyes. By God’s grace, may it always be like this.
2020 Teacher Appreciation Luncheon on Sunday, February 23