Christian Education—CE Committee Report
Our work in Christian Education got off to a strong start in 2015. In February a small, but keen group of our teens attended Blizzard at beautiful Muskoka Woods. It was reported that the weekend was a time of fun, adventure, and an opportunity to draw closer to God and one another.
In June we hosted the annual Church Family Picnic. As is our custom, we made our way outdoors after church and enjoyed a delicious pot-luck lunch, barbequed burgers, hotdogs, and Pastor David’s infamous pulled pork sandwiches. The young children in the group had fun playing on the jumpy castle while the adults visited over lunch.
Our Summer camps in Lawrence Heights, (July 13-17) and (July 27-31) were another great success in terms of numbers of children in attendance, and was a real blessing to all participants and leaders. Once again, the Lord provided in abundance with the first week of camp being led by the team from Southeast Baptist, Murfreesboro TN, and the second week being facilitated through CBOQ Youth's Lead 222 ministry (the two churches involved that week were Trinity Baptist, Yukon OK and Alleluia Lutheran, Naperville IL). Numbers wise we saw up to 80 campers each day. Lunches and snacks were provided by people within our church as well as Eglinton St George and Horizons For Youth. Many thanks to those who provided their services.
The first week of camp was Pastor Abby’s first week on the job at Blythwood as Pastor of Family Engagement and Outreach. She readily joined in and saw first-hand the impact of our camps.
In September, Pastor Abby quickly developed a comprehensive plan for working with the children and teens of our church.
The Orchard has changed from 3 small classes to one class. We have anywhere from 2-10 children each week. The Heart Shapers curriculum was used initially and then Pastor Abby switched to an Advent curriculum in November that the whole church was using. Since then she has been using lessons that correspond to the sermon each week. The intent is that using the same material will encourage discussion among families and act as a point of unity in our children’s spiritual growth.
Pastor Abby recently introduced Sword drills into the Orchard to encourage the children to get to know their Bibles. She also held the first Bible Jeopardy game. At the end of the 6-week God series she did a Jeopardy-style review to review everything the children had learned. This was very well received and the children were excited to participate.
The teens completed a book study on the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This book looks at Christian Spirituality in a modern context. It deals with topics like relationships, anger and evangelism. The class has been meeting every other week and is led by two volunteer youth leaders – Matt and Laura. Since September Pastor Abby has held monthly lunches with the teens and has held 4 events. The monthly lunches have anywhere from 2-4 youth in attendance. It’s been a great time for the teens to get to know each other outside the context of a Sunday service. The teens really enjoy these lunches.
In October the pre-teens and teens participated in “Trick-or-Eat” along with Glenview Presbyterian and Eglinton St. George United. We had 8 of our own youth come out to collect canned goods from the neighbours surrounding the church. We also had 3 volunteer youth leaders. Afterward the group headed over to Glenview for snacks and to hang out with the other youth groups.
December was a busy month for CE leading up to Christmas. In early December Pastor Abby oversaw an Out of the Cold volunteer night. We had 2 Teens attend this and they formed a mini choir and sang Christmas carols for the OOTC guests. Afterward they headed upstairs and joined in the worship service. Many of the teens have expressed a desire to volunteer but feel that OOTC is not the best setting because there are a lot of volunteers and there is not always work to do. They would prefer to do hands on projects.
On December 6, Pastor Abby oversaw the children and Youth Christmas presentation. Under Abby’s guidance the young people created an Arts inspired service, which was entirely led by the Youth. We were treated to dance, singing, violin and piano performances, readings, and prayers.
On December 4 we hosted our annual Advent Women’s Tea. Although our numbers were lower this year, all who attended enjoyed an evening of tea, coffee, and Christmas treats along with a sing song of Christmas favourites. Renata Acuna, our Tyndale intern, gave a moving dramatization of the time of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Mary. Thank you to Jennifer for creating the stunning table centre pieces. A big thank you to all the CE members who provided treats and helped at the event.
Submitted by Lise Hawkins
Chair, Christian Education Committee