We have continued to have a wonderful year in the life of children’s ministry at Tabernacle! We continue to welcome new families and children on a regular basis. It has been wonderful to see our children getting to know one another and families build relationships with each other.
On Sundays, our Sunday School numbers have continued to increase as our offerings for adult Sunday School also increase. In the spring, all of our Sunday School classes had a rotating group of teachers. It was neat to see the children getting to know different adults as they led and taught. Sunday morning in the Williams building is filled with music, games, learning, and laughter. This fall, we continued to use the Deep Blue curriculum from Cokesbury. Our preschoolers have enjoyed being taught by Natalie Hunt and Larry Allen. Our K-2nd graders are led by Kristen White, and our 3rd-5th graders are led by a rotation made up of April Kennedy, Mary Curtis Powell, Katye Snipes, Laura Severns, and Helen Davidson.
We also hired two new nursery mentors in the summer and early fall- Dianna Faison and Jennifer Jackson. Their consistency has been a welcomed thing in our nursery each week, and their smiling faces have greeted children each week. We are grateful for them as they oversee and care for the youngest among us each week.
This past fall, we continued with our Worship Explorers curriculum. Seeing the children race to the front of the sanctuary always draws some laughs from the congregation. The children focus on the Narrative Lectionary passage for the day when they gather. We also brought back a preciously used curriculum this fall for our 3rd-5th grade children called Everyone Worship. This curriculum is mean to teach children about the different parts of worship as they begin to engage in the whole service. This class was led by Penny Jenkins and was much appreciated by parents and children alike. We look forward to tweaking the program and using it again in 2017.
Wednesday nights are always a busy time in the halls of Tabernacle. We have averaged about 55 children over the course of the last year. Beginning in fall 2016, we changed up our Wednesday evening programming a little bit. Our preschoolers have continued with Godly Play, led by Kristen Koger, Jenny Jones, and Sara Anne Burgess. Our Kindergarten children have also used Godly Play and were led by Ryan Corbitt and Graham Grinnell. Our 1st-5th grade children spent the fall focusing on music. They spend half of their evening playing handbells and the other half in children’s choir. We have enjoyed their gifts and leadership in worship several times. These children are led by Jessica Corbitt, Terry Witt, Laura Severns, and Judy Fiske.
It was also a busy year when it came to social, mission and fellowship events. There were a handful of movie nights over the year. In August, we had a family picnic in the park following worship on Sunday. In October, we had a family bread baking event as we prepared bread to be used in communion on Sunday. In October we also collected socks for Socktober (inspired by Kid President) for the Fan Feast. In November, we held our first Breakfast in Bethlehem for families as they began to prepare for the Advent season. And in December, we had our Family Christmas Eve service set up in the Fellowship Hall. By the end of the evening, we had about 50 children and adults worshipping along with the LiveStream, complete with puzzles and coloring.
This year, we changed up what we did for Vacation Bible School. We decided to spend time in living rooms and backyards, getting to know people from other families. We focused on Joseph from the Old Testament. After an opening night at the church on Thursday, we spent Friday evenings divided up into our family groups. We originally were going to try camping in the back yard, but the weather changed that for us. We met back at the church on Saturday night for a middle eastern feast and a movie. A great time was had by all, and we look forward to tweaking this schedule to work better for 2017!
We want to thank all of you who help make children’s ministry happen at Tabernacle. It truly takes a village to help raise our children, and we know that many of you are involved in many different ways. From nursery volunteers, to driving the bus, to sitting with “adopted” children in worship- we are grateful for the care that you provide for our children. Already in 2017, we are expecting 6 new babies, and who knows what that number will be by the end of the year. Things are continuing to succeed as we move forward in children’s ministry.
We also want to give a big thank you to Jessica Corbitt, who has been the brains and organization behind much of the planning for children’s events. 2016 brought some leadership changes to our team, but we are grateful for those who served for many years, when there were only a handful of kids in the building to now, when we are busting at the seams with them. Jessica has been a consistent presence and sounding board. It’s not an easy job, and we are looking forward to finding others among us to help support this important and vital ministry.
Blessings to each of you as you each remember that you are a child of God.
The Children’s Leadership Team