My Summer at Suntree Kids
I have had the privilege of connecting with your incredible children over the past few months, and it has truly been delightful. The children’s ministry program here at Suntree has a rich history filled with community-building events. I am thankful to have been a part of it, even for such a short time.
Throughout the summer, your children have participated in several fun days that are part of our Summer of Creation theme. There, they have explored God’s creative spirit, in them and the world, through visual arts and the wonders of the natural world, to this past week’s theater day. Your kids have loved learning new things, making art and costumes, and engaging with the world around them. Meanwhile, on Sundays, they have learned the same stories as the rest of the congregation upstairs, tailored to their age range and personal growth. They know about the Apostle Paul and his unrelenting pursuit to spread Jesus’s message of love. They now know that prophets are not fortune-tellers, and they do not see the future, but are instead in communication with God to help their people follow God’s word. They have engaged in creative, hands-on activities that help illustrate the main themes of the day. Pastor Allee has even led them in their own service of communion!
This week’s scripture comes from the book of Malachi, wherein the process of being in relationship with the divine is described as a refiner’s fire. God purifies in ways that in the moment may feel difficult, destructive even. But as hard as this process is, the righteousness that comes from it allows us to engage with God in ways we never would have imagined before. Since a refinery is most likely a concept foreign to your kindergarteners and fifth graders, we are instead looking towards volcanoes to demonstrate this point. As a group we will watch the Firebird sequence from Disney’s Fantasia 2000, and will discuss how, although volcanoes burn away the things around it, that allows for new growth that is stronger than ever. Your children will come from church on Sunday understanding that the change they go through in their relationship with God will help them become better people, more attuned to the needs of others, and able to engage with their community with love and compassion.
I only have a few more weeks here at this wonderful church before I head back to Atlanta for my last year in seminary at the Candler School of Theology. The community here has changed me for the better. I feel renewed and rejuvenated, ready to take on another fall semester.
Thank you for your sincere welcome and support from the very beginning. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the excitement of your children here as they explore God’s creative spirit. I cannot wait to see you all on Sunday. Have a blessed and restful week!
Grace Stiles Williams