One EGG-stra Special Event

Bunnies, eggs, and candy galore, this year’s Community Easter Egg Hunt brought many families out to enjoy a morning of fun prior to Easter weekend. On March 28, 23 volunteers and around 46 families gathered at Christ Church for a family-friendly event featuring more than just a big egg hunt. Kids could travel to a variety of different stations including two different crafts, egg dyeing, face painting, cookie decorating, storybook reading, bingo, relay races, games, and pictures with the Easter bunny. Needless to say, kids stayed busy as different groups headed out to the side yard to hunt eggs. Thanks to the support of the congregation, we were able to hide 2,700 eggs out for the children to find. There was certainly no shortage of chocolate!

I cannot say “thank-you” enough for all of the help and support that everyone provided in making this fun event possible. From sorting and filling eggs, to donating juice and cookie dough, to showing up early Saturday morning to serve, it was definitely a team effort! Through this event we were able to reach many children and families both within and outside of our congregation. We provided a safe environment for them to have fun in and were able to hand out many informational packets about our church along the way. I’d say that’s pretty egg-straordinary!

**Photos can be found online at on our Flickr page.

All those Extra Hands: National Volunteer Appreciation Week

While help received at Christ Church is always appreciated, April brought an opportunity to bring a bit of extra recognition to those who assist in making our programs run and all those who are putting in extra hours both on the church grounds and out in the community. April 12-18 was National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and speaking as someone who relies on the assistance of volunteers on a regular basis, let me tell you, you’re more than appreciated!

Around 30 volunteers, from youth to older adults, help run our nursery, Kid Start children’s programming, and Endeavor youth group. That’s a whole lot of extra hands! Extra hands that show up early and leave late; that put out crackers and pour drinks; that pick up crayons from the floor, change dirty diapers, and build towering skyscrapers out of tiny lego blocks. Extra hands that are present and ready to assist however they may be needed. I appreciate all these extra hands helping me, and I certainly could not do what I do without all that extra help!

However, I know that for all of the volunteers that I get to witness in action during children and youth programming, there are many others who go unseen. Whether it be picking up trash outside or serving meals at a local shelter, I know it takes many to help our community remain the vibrant place that it is! So whether seen or unseen, know that your help is significant and your “extra hands” hold great worth!

On Sunday, April 12, I hope that most of your “extra hands” got a chance to dig into the special cake we shared at church, but if not, take a moment now to reach up behind yourselfself a big pat on the back because let me tell you, your extra hands are much appreciated!

Community Partner Spotlight: Fairmount Pines

In last month’s newsletter, you had the opportunity to read about the Valentine’s Day Party we hosted at Fairmount Pines. This event was just one in a string of events we’ve been privileged to host at the apartment complex’s community center. This ongoing relationship is a great one, and one that I certainly hope we can continue to strengthen as time goes on. As you all know, a partnership takes the work of two entities. While we’ve been blessed with many volunteers and resources on our end to help make these events happen, it has also taken the work and commitment of the Fairmount staff, mainly Randy Coleman. Randy has been a great community partner, and for this reason I wanted to give him a chance to introduce himself a little further, and for you all to get to know him better. Check out his letter to Christ Church!

**Hi, I’m Randy Coleman, the Service Coordinator at Fairmount Pines. I assist the families in becoming more independent and less dependent. I aid the families with community resources, volunteer opportunities, mentoring the youth, job searches, and after school activities—just to name a few. The passion that I have comes from what I believe is my purpose work. Not only did I come from the same economical background, I also have a strong emotional tie with youth and families that live in certain conditions. Understanding that setbacks sometimes weigh us down, I feel that I am able to serve as a beacon of light to the families here. The laughing, smiling and excitement of the children is what amazes me. When they are playing the games, doing activities, indulging in the snacks and food, it’s a great sight to see them so engaged and happy. It’s also pretty cool to have so many volunteers that are willing and ready to engage with our community and kiddos. This is a community that is often shunned and stereo-typed. Its nice to see the volunteers from your church show no concern of that. I continue to hope that we can build on this healthy, strong relationship. We would love to be able to see Christ Church provide activities at Fairmount Pines for youth and families and to host us at your facilities as well. I do want to say that we are grateful for Pastor Mike Janes, Annie, and the Christ Church body.

**Randy

Editors Note:

** Fairmount Pines is part of the Davenport-based Ecumenical Housing Development Group. The complex has over 115 units and is a Section 8 complex, meaning that it is for low-income families. Over 90% of the tenants are single-parent, low-income families with kids. Most of the moms work one or more jobs. Our partnership with Fairmount Pines is helping provide programming for those children and families to help keep them out of trouble, establish community and give them a successful future.

Where's the Baby?

You may notice in the nativity picture below, there’s an important individual who is missing from the scene. While baby Jesus may not have arrived quite yet, the Kid Start kids know that He is on the way!

Each week during Advent the kids have been adding a new figure to our nativity scene as we learn their story about hearing the Good News of Christ’s coming. Starting with Mary, then Joseph, just this last week we added the shepherd and sheep to the stable. The kids know it’s almost time to add that special baby boy. This coming week as we add the baby to the manger, we’ll be celebrating His birth with a birthday party for Jesus. Not only have we been preparing to celebrate Christ’s coming in that way, the kids have been able to do a variety of craft and game activities that tie-in with the lesson. From stained-glass nativity scenes (pictured below) to herding balloons like they’re sheep, there’s many fun ways for even the young ones to participate in the Advent season!

The last part of our Christmas preparation has included the Advent wreath. Each week the kids have been coloring a candle on their wreaths as we work our way to the “Jesus” candle. We’ve learned about what each candle means and how that applies to our own lives.

It’s fun to prepare the way for Christ with the kids during the Advent season. As one child proclaimed “I can’t believe Jesus is born every year!” Although I couldn’t help to chuckle at the time, in a way He is so right. Although Christ may not be physically born each Christmas as he was so many years ago, He can sure be reborn in our hearts each Christmas!