“I can’t thank you enough for providing this good time for my family”, said one mom. Prospect EMC, in Colborne, Ontario recently hosted a successful, 9-4 pm family event that brought 25 children and their parents to the church for fun and laughter. “We wanted to plan something that wasn’t ‘too churchy’,” said Sylvia Sonneveld. “We wanted something that would be fun for everyone and would give us the chance to say to parents ‘we’re here for you’.”
They called their event ‘Blockland’ and modeled the day on a similar event held by another church in another city. Since there was a connection between that church and Sylvia and her husband Leonard, the pastoral couple at Prospect, they were able to make arrangements to borrow a substantial collection of Lego blocks, in all its vivid colours and sizes. They advertised on Facebook, with posters, and on their sign out front.
Colborne is a small town of approximately 2000. They are a downtown church that people can walk to, but even so, one family drove 25 miles to come. Prospect EMC has approximately 40 adults. The congregation got on board and really embraced this event and worked hard to pull it all together.
About 20 from the church shared in the advance preparations and in carrying out this free event for their community. The walls were transformed to the vibrant block colours using plastic tablecloths from Dollarama. More of the colourful tablecloths brightened each table where the blocks were piled in huge mounds according to colour. Children chose the colours they wanted to use and took them back to the area where they were building with their parents.
All tables held a pre-made sample, such as a car, to prime creativity. Church volunteers sat at each table ready to help build whatever the children and parents had in mind. In addition to the building blocks, a few other games were on hand, such as Plino; and the always popular face painting was another hit. There were prizes every half hour, and free snacks for everyone. Outside, other church volunteers were keeping watch over the kids using the bouncy castle, rented for the day.
Everyone who came from the community that day arrived as strangers and left knowing some people at Prospect EMC. Not being satisfied with having one successful event this fall, the church was already in preparations for an upcoming teen event.
As churches striving to meet and serve our communities, getting ideas from other churches, and sometimes even borrowing materials, makes outreach efforts possible that might otherwise be out of financial reach. Even if finances are not a deal-breaker, sharing ideas and resources is simply good stewardship and presents myriad opportunities to help one another make a difference where we live.