Guest Post by Beth Poole
In this job, I get to hear from several leaders in our congregations about the ways they have used Special Offerings materials to reach out to their church families. I recently spoke with Beth Poole, Christian Education Director at Eaton First Presbyterian Church in Eaton, OH. She offered to write a bit about the programming at her church:
Our youth at Eaton FPC have had a lot of fun collecting items and money for PC(USA) Missions. The Youth from our Wednesday evenings LOGOS program, along with the supportive church members of Eaton First Presbyterian Church collected items for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Gift of the Heart Kits. It was our spring / Valentine mission. Our LOGOS program has a dinner time where the kids sit at age grouped tables. Each table drew a different kit to collect items for from February- April. We made it a contest with the group who collects the most items wins an ice cream Sunday dessert bar. (FYI- Our Jr/Sr Table won!) Over the 3 months with support from the congregation we collected the following:
- Pre-school table: Collected 1 complete Baby Kit
- Kindergarten-2nd grade table: Collected 5 complete School Kits
- 3rd-4th grade table: Collected 2 complete Clean up Buckets
- 5th-6th grade table: Collected 16 complete Hygiene Kits
- Jr/Sr High table: Collected 7 complete School Kits
During the summer, our Vacation Bible School kids came to our church for Hometown Nazareth, Where Jesus Grew Up VBS. This group VBS takes kids back to Bible times with food, songs, Bible stories and a fun market place. In the market place we even have a day where farm animals come in to show kids what farmers and shepherds did in Bible times. We always take a collection for a mission which the VBS kids support.
After looking through your Missions catalog, we decided we could raise money to buy an animal for a farmer or village through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. We made a chart starting with $15 collected for tilapia fingerlings all the way up to $500 for a mule like Mary rode into Bethlehem. The kids really got excited and started bringing in coins and bills. They were asking relatives and church members to put money in their banks which they would empty everyday into the wood collection bowl at VBS.
I was hoping for goats ($178) but was thrilled when on the last day they had collected $414.80! The following Sunday we had a VBS presentation. We announced their mission and that they were only $86 dollars away from a mule. Well, the congregation quickly made up the difference and the kids were so excited to buy a mule for a farmer in the Caribbean through your Giving Catalog and PC(USA) Missions!!
Thank you for giving our youth opportunities to help God’s children around the world!!
In God’s’ Love, Beth