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Celebrating Calvary's Ministries:
Children and Family ministries
Submitted by Sally Engelbert
In a typical year, Children’s Ministry focuses on weekly Sunday School lessons following the Godly Play curriculum and monthly Family Ministry events focusing on community building, outreach, or education depending on the event.
This past year was far from typical and two weeks into our Kids Lenten Program we had to re-envision how we do this work. With much technical help from my husband, JJ Engelbert, I was able to move to recording Godly Play lessons and posting them to YouTube to be sent out in a weekly email. Once we got into our Summer Stories program in June, several volunteers started helping with the recording. We were able to send out videos of volunteers reading a picture book along with an associated instructional craft video. Families came to pick up packets from the church with craft supplies each week and the program ran really smoothly with commitment from both leaders and participants.
When Godly Play started back up in the fall with my wonderful and dedicated group of Sunday School teachers, I was able to offer classroom supply packets to families to have at home to complement the recorded lessons. These kits included story manipulatives, felt and cardstock story pieces, coloring pages, and art supplies. We have also included a monthly virtual feast as a chance for children to come together in a relaxing and renewing way to talk about any prayers they have or exciting things going on in their lives.
Family Ministries this year has provided some different opportunities. We sent home care packets with activities and gifts for Easter, Advent, and Christmas as a way to stay connected even when we can’t be together. We also made some summer activities such as gardening and sidewalk chalk available at the church for people to be able to come and enjoy our spaces in a safe way.
Moving forward, I’m reminded of our Godly Play wondering questions that we think through at the end of many of our stories:
I wonder what your favorite part of the story is?
All of the people who make this work possible. The staff, volunteers, parents and families who are Children’s and Family Ministries.
I wonder what the most important part of the story is?
The hard work and dedication of so many people that allow us to still share these important stories.
I wonder if there is anything we could leave out and still have all the story we need?
I believe that although this part of our story has been a challenge, it has also been a blessing. We could not have left any of this story out and still have accomplished what we have done this year.
I wonder where you see yourself in this story?
Godly Play is working on an exciting new series of stories called People of Color Who Inspire along with some other updates focused on inclusivity, so that everyone can find themselves in these important stories. I am really looking forward to seeing all of you in our Calvary story in 2021.