Guest Post by Lisa Carlin
Clinton Presbyterian Church is a small multi-cultural church in Central Massachusetts.
We have about 12 kids who attend Sunday School – some of whom are immigrants from Cameroon and one family from France. Some of the kids are 1st generation Americans, their parents immigrated from Cameroon. We have a rotation of 8 Sunday School teachers who work in pairs to cover the typical 4 Sunday’s in a month. We are a “one room Sunday School House”. We have kids from 1 years old to 12 years old.
We use the Presbyterian’s Sunday School Curriculum – Growing in Grace and Gratitude. In October 2015, one of the activities was to look at the giving catalog and have the Sunday School purchase something as a way to give back. When we decided that we wanted to move forward with this activity, we wanted to make sure that is was a substantial activity and that we could feel like the kids were having an impact. We figured if we did a special offering from the Congregation and asked the Mission Committee to support the Sunday School kids, that we could probably come up with about $300.
During Sunday School, we met with the kids. We told them about this project and we asked them how much they thought they could raise. We finally got them to agree that $300 was a reasonable goal. (They initially thought $5,000!) We looked at the catalog and picked out a pair of goats, a pig, a family of chickens and a rain catchment system. That totaled $318.
Almost always, our church will have a Children’s Church on the 5th Sunday of a month. November 2015 had 5 Sundays and Nov 29 was slated to be a children’s church service. We thought this would be the perfect time to do a special offering for this project.
For the two weeks prior, I did a short reminder to the congregation about the special offering – what it was for, where it was going and asking them to support the children.
For the service, I wrote a little play that the kids could act out while I read. It basically featured a family who was really sad because the family goat had just died, then the villagers were also sad because it was too dry. There had not been any rain in a while. But while they knew it would rain again they had no way to capture the rain. Everyone prayed. Then a Presbyterian Missionary arrived with presents – a rain catchment system, goats, pigs and chickens.
Then 2 of the kids got up to read statements about why they thought it was important to do this project and why people should give.
Well, we ended up collecting $436 in the special offering. The kids had raised $114 of their own money. This was a total of $550!! I was so excited to go back to Sunday School the next week not only to tell the kids what an amazing job they had done for Children’s Church but also how much money they raised and that we now needed to go back and buy more things for people in need.
We had about $240 to spend. I had already looked through the catalog and had some suggestions. I also told them we could get a bee keeping kit. They were not impressed with that!!
They wanted to buy more things but the one item that really seem to hit home was the bicycle for a pastor in Zambia. They had to have that. They couldn’t imagine that the pastor didn’t have a way to get around. So, we were able to get all the other things on the list – share of a well, bag of seeds, farming tools and the bicycle.
I approached our Mission Committee. I wanted to tell them that one – the Sunday School kids did not need their assistance – but Thank You for being there. And secondly, several of the Sunday School teachers were a little sad, disappointed that they did not choose the bee keeping kit. I asked, would the mission committee consider purchasing the bee keeping kit on behalf of the congregation. They agreed!
So, that is how a little Church in Central Massachusetts was able to make such a donation to help folks in need around the World.
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