Friday, October 25, 2013

83 Ideas For Packing Your Shoebox

With the early snowfall it's hard not to hear the distant jingle of a Christmas bell.  We live in a society of privilege and even now may already be storing away gifts to give our family and friends come that jolly day in December.  So often we take our blessings for granted and forget that much of the world is struggling just to survive.  Operation Christmas Child makes it their mission to see that we don't forget - that we take a step back from our selfish natures and think of someone else.  This is a great opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child who isn't so lucky as our own children.

The boxes arrived this week and we are encouraging you to take up the challenge.  Stuff a shoebox full with little joys that will bring hope to a child in a desperate situation.  And to help you face this challenge with confidence we've pulled together a list of 83 ideas to get you on your way.
  1. Notepads/post its
  2. Coloring books
  3. Markers/crayons
  4. Pencils/pencil crayons
  5. Pencil sharpener
  6. Erasers
  7. Pens
  8. Pencil case
  9. Safety scissors
  10. Glue stick
  11. Ruler
  12. Solar calculator
  13. Stickers
  14. Self-inking stamp
  15. Water color set & paint brush
  16. Little crafting kit - beads
  17. Travel sewing kit 
  18. Dry erase board & markers
  19. Duct tape
  20. Tape measure
  21. Comb
  22. Brush
  23. Dental Floss
  24. Soap (put in plastic baggie)
  25. Toothbrush
  26. Small hand mirror - unbreakable
  27. Colorful bandages
  28. Baby wipes
  29. Wash cloth
  30. Hand towel
  31. Tissues
  32. Chapstick
  33. Emery boards
  34. Nail clippers
  35. Hair ribbons
  36. Ponytail holders
  37. Barrettes
  38. Hairbands
  39. Bracelets
  40. Necklace
  41. Clip-on earrings
  42. Hat
  43. Ball cap
  44. Gloves
  45. Bandanas
  46. Scarf
  47. Shoelaces
  48. Sunglasses
  49. Socks
  50. T-shirt
  51. Flip flops
  52. Watch
  53. Plastic poncho in packet
  54. Individual sealed play-doughs
  55. Silly putty
  56. Small stuffed animals or dolls
  57. Inflatable beach balls
  58. Bouncy balls
  59. Slinkies
  60. Finger puppets
  61. Legos
  62. Jigsaw puzzle
  63. Mini magnetic checker board & checkers
  64. Flash cards
  65. Picture books
  66. Bean bag
  67. Hacky sack
  68. Balloons
  69. Toy binoculars
  70. Jump rope
  71. Paddle ball
  72. Yo yo's
  73. Harmonica
  74. Recorder
  75. Tambourine
  76. Kazoo
  77. Toy cars/trucks
  78. Compass
  79. Solar-powered flashlight
  80. Glow sticks
  81. Hard candy
  82. Plastic eating utensils
  83. Toy pots & pans

And to finish it off why not include a personal letter and a photo!

Be sure to bring your boxes back to the church by November 10.

Happy packing! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hemorrhaging Faith: Why Are They Leaving?

North America is facing a spiritual epidemic:

  • Only one in three Canadian young adults who attended church weekly as a child still do so today.
  • Of the young adults who no longer attend church, half have also stopped identifying themselves with the Christian tradition in which they were raised.

Why is this happening?  What is our role?  How can we stop it? states that 'there are four primary toxins that keep young people from engaging with the church: hypocrisy, judgement, exclusivity, failure.'

Last Wednesday evening during our Family Ties program Pastor Jason facilitated a discussion surrounding this very issue.  Out of that discussion came a very practical way we might care for our young people: simple care packages, sent to wherever they are attending school, as a little reminder that we care.  It is a small step against a growing problem but necessary in establishing a much needed trust between the body of the church and it's disappearing young people.

A group is rallying together to make this happen but they need your help! They are looking for donations of granola bars, mini chocolate bars, hot chocolate packages, gum, wrapped candy, or a cash donation to help cover the cost of packaging and postage.  Please consider making a contribution and dropping these off at the church office by Sunday, October 27.

If you're interested in exploring this issue further, take a little time to read through the Faith Today article, Why They're Leaving from their September/October 2012 publication.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Welcome Back Sunday BondFire

We had grown comfortable with our annual Welcome Back; with it's after-church gathering on the front steps, it's fry truck, it's tradition... But this is a season of change.  This is a season of seizing the moment, of looking each other in the eye, of connecting on a level far exceeding the Sunday morning 'turn and greet one another.' 

Our summer BondFires brought us into the fall with a growing feeling of new connection and community and we were loathe to see that ended; and so, we 'Welcomed Back' in good old country-charm fashion with a BondFire finale at the DeVisser Farm.

Fresh air lingering with the scent of a just-ended summer welcomed us warmly as we shared a simple meal.  Laughter drifted as children ran and tumbled across the lawn and the tractor rumbled along, giving hayrides through fields awash in sunshine, culminating in a charming song-a-long around the little fire pit while s'mores were roasted and jackets zipped against the evening chill.

This is community.  This is family.  This is the church.