Young Hearts of Service

Shannon Gammon Articles, Catherine Stark-Corn

Rev. Catherine Stark-Corn serves as our Minister to Children and Families / Outreach Ministries

“What amazing helpers you have been!”
“I cannot believe they all worked so hard the full time.”
“Everyone pitched in to get all the projects done…and no one complained!”

These were just a few of the comments we heard from agency staff during our Service-Learning week for our 3rd-5th graders. During the five days spent together, we visited and served at eight agencies the church has ongoing connections with and supports with donations and volunteers. We experienced a variety of programs that seek to care for people in a range of ways – providing food, housing, and education – in an atmosphere of respect and support seeing each as a beloved of God.

As part of our reflection time, we wrestled with questions to process how our serving and helping could be seen as faithfulness to God. One of the questions posed about an agency – Do you think God was present here? had the group really talking. We created a group journal where each was able to share an answer. The children listed tangible ways they saw God in the actions of others – growing food to share with neighbors, supporting people’s projects, making a community pantry, and offering repairs on people’s homes, by sharing kindness.

This faith-filled young group was able to see the world and actions in ways many of us as adults may miss. With more and more people in need of basic support for food, housing, healthcare, and recovery from growing climate issues – it can be easy to feel the small acts are not enough, will never be enough. Using the lens of these youth, who listened to the sharing from the agency leaders, and observed the actions being lived out in the communities in need, can help us see anew the importance of small acts that can be woven together to show God’s caring presence in the world.

It is a privilege to bring caring, thoughtful children of our congregation to connect to some of the places seeking to nurture all God’s children in our community. In faithfulness, each shared their time, energy, and caring spirit with others, and in doing so summon us to follow and serve as they do.