SUNDAY SCHOOL & NURSERY
Each Sunday at our 9:30 am family-friendly, Contemporary Holy Communion Service, we have a nursery available for caregivers to take their infants and toddlers during the service where the litugry and the sermon can be heard. We also have classes for the “Jesus Loves Me Kids” (ages 3 to senior kindergarten). Older children are involved in our worship services as Junior Servers. Mrs. Mary Chiarelli coordinates our children’s ministry. On Sunday mornings, we use the Witness Curriculum. Over two years, our children will learn the major stories of Hebrew Scripture, the missionary journal of St. Paul and the Gospel stories about Jesus.
OTHER CHILDREN’S EVENTS
A number of special events or outreach initiatives involving our children and parish families take place throughout the year. The weekly bulletin has relevant details.
Messy Church, an intergenerational event for families is offered several times each year. On a Saturday afternoon, we gather organized around a specific theme, to watch a DVD, make a craft, eat and celebrate Holy Communion.
We want our children to model our need to embody compassion for others. Thanksgiving Weekend is our White Gift Sunday where families bring food to be donated to Barrie’s Grocery Assistance Program. Families and the parish as a whole participate in Operation Christmas Child, part of Samaritan’s Purse Ministries, to fill shoe boxes with Christmas gifts for children in need.
The parish children plant a vegetable garden each year. They have learned about God’s gift of creation, caring for our precious planet and the issue of hunger, even in Barrie. Produce is donated to The Busby Centre.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
St. Paul’s supports this initiative through Samaritan’s Purse. Here are some thoughts about this project from a parishioner.
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s that special time of year again where we can make an impact in a child’s life by participating in Operation Christmas Child. To me though, it’s also a very bittersweet time. While I enjoy the shopping and excitement of choosing gifts to give to a child, it also brings tears to my eyes, as the realization hits me that if it weren’t for us, these children to whom the shoeboxes go, would have nothing. They live in countries far away, in poverty… knowing hunger, fear, desperation and sadness. We have so much – and in comparison – our lives are nearly perfect!
Because we participated in Operation Christmas Child last year we received a brochure in the mail from Samaritan’s Purse, outlining all the details and reminding us of the collection times. As I read through the brochure, I learned that Canada committed 75,000 shoe boxes to Haiti alone in 2011. That is impressive! But as I read further, another thought impressed upon me even more… the simple sentence: “If you packed shoe boxes last year, please consider doubling your efforts this year….” And that is exactly what we did!
This year, we packed two shoeboxes and it felt wonderful! My 12 year old son packed his own shoebox and had decided that he wanted to give his gifts to a little boy, age 5 – 9 years old. I chose for a little girl, also age 5 – 9 years old. We spent a wonderful evening together choosing gifts for our shoeboxes. We each had a shopping basket and walked around the store together, comparing our selections as we picked out a colourful array of toys, some candy, stickers, socks, and even a recorder to make joyful noise! It was a magical time for both of us and I think we were both imagining the looks on the children’s faces as they opened up their Christmas shoeboxes. I know we were both smiling as we thought of the joy we would bring to that little child. Isn’t that really the true spirit of Christmas