The past year has been trying for each of us in different ways and winter typically seems more difficult even in a non-pandemic year when many don’t feel comfortable going out in public to find something fun to do. A way that Tina Miller and I in Family Ministry at ECC have tried to combat the winter blues and the feeling of being trapped at home is to offer Family Fun Times at the church every other week on Thursdays and Fridays. We offer time slots for a single-family unit or a quaranteam (a couple families that are quarantining together) to sign up and come to the church building for various themed events. Allowing time to clean and sanitize in between groups. The Family Fun Times are intended for families of all ages and generations, from parents and their children to grandparents and singles. The hope is to give the congregation something to look forward to going to do during the week.
We started the New Year turning all the church classrooms into a 15-hole mini-golf course. I can still hear in my mind the laughter of Jack Young and his grandchildren “competitively” playing, encouraging, and laughing together creating memories for years to come.
Then two weeks later the Fellowship Hall had video games projected onto the walls from 4 video games systems dating back to the 80’s up through the present day as families played together.
At the end of January, a classroom at church was transformed into an “Escape Room” themed as an office of a suspect who had stolen ancient biblical artifacts. To escape teams needed to solve a series of puzzles, locks, and challenges hidden throughout the room and find the missing coins. The experience allowed for each family member to contribute through communication and teamwork. My 4 boys still are talking about that night and the fun they had working together to solve the mystery.
The latest Fun Time was a week ago today when Fellowship Hall was filled with tables set up for a variety of crafts. Family members had the option to sign up to make a marshmallow shooter, decoupage picture frame, yarn-covered picture frame, or holiday paper banner. The creativity and artistic talent were present with smiles and pride of many amazing masterpieces.
The last two currently scheduled events are “Over Sized Board Games” and “The Amazing Grace Race”. Signs up for next week’s Oversized Games are available now. See the church bulletin or church emails for details. The Fellowship Hall will be filled with childhood favorite games, but now the pieces and gameboards are oversized. This is sure to be a great time for all who enjoy a good board game.
The special event in mid-March, The Amazing Grace Race, will start at the church building, and weather permitting (otherwise it will stay at church) travel to various church member’s front yard to complete a challenge either physical or mental as well as a time as a family to stop and pray together. We are looking for houses to visit for this event on March 11-12 in the afternoon and early evening. If you would be interested in having groups stop by contact the church office to let Tina or myself know. Our dream would be to visit some of the homes of church members currently staying home on Sunday mornings so we can wave through the window at each other or say hi from the front yard.
Finally, I read through 1 Thessalonians 5 recently and I keep returning to the chapter and its richness during difficult days, weeks, and months. I will then leave you with what the apostle Paul wrote in verse 11. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” May God be your encouragement and hope today. And then share that encouragement and hope you have, in Christ, with others.