M.E. Steelman • Children’s Ministry Coordinator

When the program year began in September, I had no idea what would happen. In my own mind, I was consumed by questioning each program and decision. Would we have families attend Children’s Ministry programs? Is it too soon to start? What spaces should we use? Would we have enough volunteers to help lead our programs?  Would we be shutting things down frequently? I found myself talking to God frequently and ultimately following my heart and moving ahead with our normal programming, just doing so in a NEW way.

M.E. Steelman and children play and learn together at K.I.C. Club

September saw a return to Sunday School and KIWI. Derry was once again blessed with incredible support from our church families. We have an amazing team of adult teachers/helpers who are filling our classrooms with joy, love and energy each Sunday.  COVID gave us a reason to pause and ultimately gave us time to look at our programs and ask what we could do better or different. This led us to add an element of music to our Sunday School time, led by Mr. Grant and Pastor Pam. Children are learning some of the beloved Sunday School songs that many of us grew up singing. Our new curriculum, Spark Activate Faith, has us “Trekking Through the Bible” and having a lot of fun journeying through the Bible together. KIWI has moved to the Chapel and offered us a more special and sacred space to gather and learn about worship. The children enjoy exploring a true worship space and preparing that space with the elements we see in weekly worship that remind us of our sacraments, promises and ways we show our love for our Lord and Savior.

We created a brand-new program called RECONNECT. Pastor Pam has been helping our first and second graders adjust to in-person worship as they focus on the various parts of worship and help them learn how to participate in, and not just sit through, worship. We are hopeful that this new program will make worship more meaningful to these children as they rejoin their parents in December.

Pilgrim Fellowship kicked off in October and has been a lot of fun. Our third through fifth graders love having a time to have fun, be silly and simply be together. We have chosen activities that allow us to be outdoors as much as possible, that connect with many different interests and also offer an element of faith formation through learning, mission and fellowship.

Children’s choirs were greatly affected by the pandemic as Terrific Tuesdays and rehearsals were all cancelled. This is an area of Derry’s Children’s Ministry that brings joy to everyone in the church family and we knew we wanted to find a way to rebuild our choirs. Our church leaders worked together and created a new program, K.I.C. Club (Kids In Christ Club). K.I.C. Club gathers on Tuesday evenings from 5:45-7:15 and offers children the opportunity to explore our creative arts ministries here are Derry: music, creation time and fellowship. The children gather together for our opening circle time and then break into groups to rotate through our three classrooms.  Tuesday evenings have come alive again here at the church. The relaxed atmosphere has allowed us the opportunity to make deeper connections with the children and families of the church. And the children have enjoyed making new friends and experiencing each of our extended Children’s Ministry offerings.

When you and your family are ready, I hope you will join us and find a way to let God be a larger part of your lives. These days are full of uncertainty and decision making and I fully respect the choice each family makes, but also want you to know that I am excited to welcome you back whenever you are ready to join us.

I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I continue to thank God for the strength, support and love that surround our Children’s Ministry programs.