By The Reverend Christine V. Hides

“Innovation grounded in tradition,” is one of six strategic priorities named at the 2017 Children’s Ministry re-visioning session. Perhaps those attending had seen that Duke Divinity School has an entire section of their Faith and Leadership website dedicated to “Traditioned Innovation,” defined as “A way of thinking and being that holds the past and future in tension, not in opposition, [which] is crucial to the growth and vitality of Christian institutions.”

Children and Family Ministry continues to value the rich history of Kenilworth Union Church as we lean in to new ways of supporting children and families on their faith journeys. As we have been meeting with the Sunday School teachers the last few weeks, several have remarked at how much forward momentum there has been in just two short years. Below are a few highlights from a recent webinar about what is new in Children and Family Ministry for the coming year:

A streamlined registration and check in process: Fifty percent of our families have already completed the new, online registration form . Beginning on Homecoming Sunday we will have a two-step check in. First parents will check children in at the name tag station. Then, children will go to their classrooms where teachers will take attendance. This process will ensure that we have accurate information for all children in our care. The Children’s Ministry greeting team is ready to welcome and assist you in this process.

Full, enthusiastic teaching teams: We are in the process of meeting with all of our grade level teaching teams. Each group has had input into classroom structure and set up as well. They are committed to making this year an engaging and faith-filled experience for all children. Several grades have already filled the entire year’s teaching schedule. Please support them with your prayers and gratitude.

Focus on Community, Curiosity, and Choice: These three words sum up our approach to Christian Education. Because we relationships and community are foundational, we want all children to know one another and their adult leaders. We want them to know they are safe and loved, that they belong, and that we pray for them. We welcome their curiosity and questions about the Bible, faith, science, and real life experiences. We create classroom structure that allows for choice of activities when appropriate.

Spirit Days and Discovery Days: Building on last year’s Pajama Day and Jersey Day, we will offer several Spirit Days. September 29 is the first when children are invited to dress like their hero as we explore how generosity is one of our superpowers! Two, new Discovery Days will offer second–sixth graders an opportunity to choose a Sunday morning activity based on interest rather than age level.

Faith234 Youth Group: Please be in prayer for this joyful new midweek ministry with grades second–fourth which will include community building games and a spiritual practice! Faith234 will meet on Tuesdays at 4:15 p.m.

All of the new initiatives  in Children and Family Ministry support the traditions of Kenilworth Union Church , summarized in the Matthew 22 verse on the seal: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Thank you for your prayers for our children and teachers, that they might grow in  grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Please contact me if you have questions or would like to support Children and Family Ministry with your time and talent.

Click here to register for birth through eighth grade programs.