Fun, friendships mark age-appropriate “birthday parties”
By Myra Holmes
While adults marked the 150th anniversary of the Mennonite Brethren at Celebration 2010 July 14-16, kids were celebrating in their own, age-appropriate ways.
During Thursday’s binational morning and afternoon reporting sessions, 19 children age 18 months to 12 years met at Chandos Pattison Auditorium to make “fruit of the Spirit” kabobs, then headed to the Vancouver Zoo for a walking education tour and train ride. They ended the day with a birthday party for the MB Church, complete with cake, party hats and blowers.
The group included children from the U.S., Canada and Thailand. “I reminded them that the next time they worshipped, they would know that they would have friends in other places of the world that are worshipping too,” says organizer Cindy Olsen.
During the Canadian and U.S. national gatherings Thursday evening and Friday, vacation Bible school-like activities were planned at both North Langley Community Church and at Gracepoint Community Church, respectively. The two groups—four children from the U.S. and 15 Canadians—joined Friday for an outing to The Great Escape, an indoor amusement park.
The children had so much fun they didn’t want to leave The Great Escape, says Gracepoint children’s worker Carrie Craddock. But what impressed Craddock was the children’s interest in the Bible. “What brought me joy was seeing that they were just as pumped up to hear stories from God’s Word,” she says.
Meanwhile, 10 teens came to the opening Celebration service Wednesday packed for two days of fun and networking at Columbia Bible College, an MB-supported Bible school. At the end of the opening session, the teens were transported to the Bible college campus in Abbotsford.
The group, ages 14 to 18, spent Thursday in informational sessions on post-secondary options for education and mission with representatives from MBMS International, Fresno Pacific University, Ministry Quest, Canadian Mennonite University and Columbia Bible College. The day closed with a pizza-and-ice-cream celebration of the MB 150th anniversary. Friday’s highlight was a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.
Organizer Candice Green says the teens arrived “looking a little uncertain about what they were walking into,” but warmed up to each other quickly and formed close relationships. She says, “It was such a blessing to see how God brought them together and knocked down any relational barriers that may have been there on that first day.”