GOLDEN, CO: When I first began serving at the Foundation, I frequently brought my young daughter with me to different churches on Sunday mornings. She loved going off to Sunday school after the children’s time, while I attended worship.
One day, I picked her up in the basement classroom, and she was mad. We got into the car where she immediately proclaimed, “That church doesn’t care about children at all!” Of course, I asked her to explain.
The Sunday school was in the basement in one far room. All the lights in the basement were off (to save electricity presumably). She explained that the room smelled funny, there were boxes piled up on the sides of the room, and all the crayons were old and broken. She said she never wanted to go back there again.
This story came to mind after I had the pleasure of working with Applewood Valley United Methodist Church, who on the other hand has a deep understanding of the importance of having a safe and inviting space for children to gather. In their quest to attract more new families and young children, they embarked on a mission to cultivate a stronger sense of community. Until last year, their means to do so were limited by roadblocks such as deteriorating play sets and an outdoor space that needed some extra love.
Serving children in their community is in their DNA and they have a long history of doing so but after more than 60 years since the church was founded, they felt their playground made of railroad ties was ready for a refresh. When AVUMC reached out to the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation for financial assistance to revamp their playground, we were delighted at the opportunity to help.
Through a grant, AVUMC was able to create a brand new community playground allowing for a space outside the church for families to connect with other church families and create a safe space for children to make new friends, learn social skills, and find a sense of belonging in the Methodist community. AVUMC’s mission statement “We share the life, love, and laughter of Jesus Christ” will be furthered through the all-new outdoor community gathering space.
I am eternally grateful for the many ways in which church loved me and my family over the years. Today’s children still crave Bible stories, busy-bags, singing, and simple crafts. They have a natural desire to give – simple things like hand-made cards to cheer up adults, for example. They love learning about flowers, and rainbows, and butterflies, reminders of God’s promises to all people. Caring for children can be as elaborate as a new playground, or as simple as a new box of crayons. Children will notice.
Kristi Kinnison, Executive Director Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation
When was the last time you looked at your church from a child’s perspective? Reach out to the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation to learn how to leverage your endowments today for future generations.