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Apply Now for the Creative Ministry with Children and Youth Fund

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14

Excited about providing creative ministry with your congregation, community or mission?
Considering a new, one-time or ongoing program with children and youth?

University P.C.-childrenThe Creative Ministry with Children and Youth Fund provides opportunities for ministries to offer dynamic programs that nurture faith in children and youth. This fund goes beyond providing finances to support a youth group leader or existing programs—instead, it is designed to inspire the denomination to think creatively and offer innovative programming for children and youth that could be a model for ministry across the country. Think large or think small: this fund partners with ministries to offer exciting opportunities to launch and sustain vibrant programs for children and youth with The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Read about some of the successful programs across the denomination supported by the fund.

“It has been an interesting week…” Michelle* said, when I asked her how she was doing one outreach night.

“Interesting good or interesting bad?” I responded.

I soon found out that this was definitely interesting bad. Michelle had been held at gunpoint by a “date” earlier in the week and raped.

She was so scared. Afraid that this bad date would be back to kill her and afraid that if she went to the police to press charges then he would most certainly come back to kill her. But more than anything else, she was afraid that one of these nights she would not make it home to her children.

Michelle was offered a listening ear, help going to the police, and a hug. What she wanted and needed most in that moment was someone to enter into her fear, and remind her that she is not alone. ARISE Ministry has had over 150 interactions with women on the streets this fall and handed out supplies to over 100 women. ARISE continues to form relationships with those involved in the sex-trade offering care, hope and love.

*Names changed to protect identity.

Bonnie (not her real name) joined Reaching for Rainbows in September 2011. She was recommended by her teacher. It was clear that Bonnie was a troubled little girl. She had a hard time with self-regulation and lacked inter-personal skills. She was in tears regularly and circled the room while her peers were engaged in fun activities.

We have worked with Bonnie to develop skills in the area of self-regulation and she has responded well. She used to lock herself in the bathroom every time she got angry; we have provided her with a different option to this behaviour. Now she has a special blanket and every time she feels angry and anxious she is encouraged to fetch her blanket and find a comfortable place in the centre where she can wrap herself in the blanket and feel safe.

She is the only girl who has not wanted to participate in the dramatic production; we allow her to make that choice. She articulates in response that when she is ready to join the group she will. Reaching for Rainbows is a child-directed program. This means that the girls are encouraged to make choices within the available options. We want them to practice making good choices on a very small scale so that they will have the confidence to make good choices on a large scale.

Many youths and adults who find themselves in trouble never recognize that they have the power to choose. A child-directed program provides practice in the power to choose. Bonnie has learned to articulate her choices in a healthy way. Bonnie has come far.

St. John’s is a lively and fun-filled place on Monday mornings! Our music director teaches the Baby Suzuki program. Our youngest participant is James who is 10 weeks old now and our oldest is Sarah, who is five years of age. We held our first “adult session” when the adults went to another part of the church to learn about food and nutrition for pre-schoolers. We are fortunate to have a retired life skills/home economics teacher in our congregation who is willing to come every month to talk about pre-school issues. We are also so lucky to have dedicated volunteers from the congregation; seven people who come out every Monday morning to make snacks and help in any way they can. Plus the great people who help every Sunday after worship to set up the room. Great teamwork!

As a way of reaching children and youth, the director of Hummingbird, elders, musicians and other performing artists are gathering with Indigenous children and youth in Surrey and other locations in the lower mainland of BC over the next two years to teach them how to sing and play music and to encourage their involvement in other ongoing arts programs such as dance and drama. This project includes music, dance and drama to prepare the youth and children to perform at the annual Hummingbird Ministries Festival. It includes rehearsals prior to the festival or other performances. The director and the elders have the opportunity to teach the children about the Christian faith, how to pray and sing sacred songs during the Circle time at each gathering. The gatherings begin with a shared meal. The songs the youth and children learn include hymns and sacred drum songs. The children’s parents and grandparents are also present at the Circles which provides an opportunity for the whole family to be encouraged in the faith, not only the children.