Children learn the heart of giving this Christmas season

By Catherine Turnbull
Director of Children and Youth Ministries

Visit from St. Nicholas
A visit from St. Nicholas deepens the mystery of Advent.

Thank you for bringing food with you on December 13 for St. Nicholas’ visit and Grace’s Food Pantry.  Having St. Nicholas visit Grace in December has been a tradition for more than 20 years.  Along with the fun comes the opportunity to highlight service during the Christmas Season.

St. Nicholas will talk to us about the wealth he grew up within, Myra, and his awakening to poverty’s effect on families there.  He’ll engage the hearts of the children of Grace in gathering the food you’ve brought with you using “Gold Coins” to demonstrate the heart of giving not only to them, but to those receiving the food. St. Nicholas will tell us how God opened his eyes and we pray that God will open our eyes as he shares with us.

We offer opportunities for service to our young members by participating in children’s chapel’s weekly offering. They send their offering to a school in Kinshasa, Dem. Rep. of the Congo.  After highlighting service during Outback Rock (our summer VBS), we also endeavor to encourage service to their church family by: writing notes to ailing parishioners, performing in the annual Christmas pageant, and participating in prayers for healing.

Youth Group Jeff and youth
Canstruction project

Youth groups practice service of their own design.  Their efforts have included volunteering at the Father Fred Foundation, making a glorious sculpture at “Canstruction,” and serving dinner during Safe Harbor.  The high school youth group is planning a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with our Diocese this June. That trip will be an immersion into service, St. Nicholas style. They’ll be helping to build a school and a medical clinic which will directly improve the lives of the youth in that area.

Providing opportunities for service is sometimes a challenge. Time is limited and we must appropriately balance instruction and projects. So I won’t say we’ve finished developing this part of our program, but we keep working on it.  I hope you’ll support us, pray for us, and pray with us for the families near and far who need our help, while we do just that.