In 2009 our community started holding worship services in the newly purchased and repaired building of the North West Russia AC Centre. While designing the inner space of the Centre, a room for children’s ministry was reserved. It’s a universal saying in our context, that says, ‘Children are our future’. If we ponder over these words, it turns out to be that children by themselves are of no value: we await that they will make our dreams come true, when they grow up. But when reading the Gospel, we see that Jesus treats children in quite a different way – He rejoices at their love for Him, and their desire to be in His presence.
The Aspiration United Methodist Church dreams that the church kids become our “today”. Now quite a few smaller brothers and sisters come to our Sunday school, led by Elina Ten. That’s why we’ve organized several events to draw parents’ and their kids’ attention.
In summer, the Aspiration UMC held the Outdoor fest on the playground just in front of the church building. We prepared colorful ads and distributed invitation cards beforehand. The playground in front of the church was literally transfigured – balloons, chalk drawings, loud music and funny costumes created the feeling of a real holiday.
The kids, who would come up to the organizers, by themselves or with parents, could learn how to make simple crafts out of paper, colored sticky tape and napkins. Lisa Kulayeva and pastor Oxana Petrova from the St. Trinity UMC assisted them.
Wizard, Flower and Ladybird (the Aspiration UMC masked churchgoers) prepared quizzes, funny games and relay races. Of course, everyone won his or her prizes.
To crown it all, everybody was welcomed to have tea in the church dining room, where the kids and adults were treated with delicious things. During the teatime, the kids were invited to join the three-day summer camp, where they could learn that they are special creatures of the Master. Three days in a row the kids had been watching Christian cartoons (“You are special”, “The green nose”) and discussing them with the leaders, participating in the workshops in felting, modelling and stained glass window, playing and having tasty meals.
Though fewer numbers of kids participated in the camp (we expected more of them coming), that event was very important both for the participants and for the leaders’ team who acquired the new experience, were inspired to continue and develop the ministry. Christmas is coming, and we’ve been preparing a Christmas morning performance for our small friends, where they will meet Kai, Herda, Snow Queen and Jesus, of course.
The Aspiration UMC (Saint Petersburg) Pastor Irina Margulis
Photos: The Aspiration UMC
Translate by Vladimir Ditmar