SunRidge Out of School care

Behind the Fun

There were balloons…hundreds of them!

There were costumes…all kinds and all colours all mixed together!

There was lots of loud and lots of laughs!

Moms and Dads got right into it…

And a dance floor filled with EVERYONE: toddlers, kids, teens, young adults, and….adult-adults. One big mix of happy!

When it was over…it wasn’t over. If there was music, there was dancing, even while the clean-up was well under way! Sometimes you just can’t stop having fun.

This is the Goofball, but there is more! It’s the more you need to know to understand why we would even host this event. The Goofball is a complete goofy, fun-filled celebration of childhood, but it has a serious vision. The Goofball exists to create space for joy and to affirm each child’s GOD-given identity. This year the main point was to not live under the pressure of a label. From the stage, on-screen and around the tables the message was that each person is unique — they can be themselves and let other people be who they are! We don’t need to give in to pressure to be something else or do what everyone else does. You can enjoy a whole variety of things, and that just makes you interesting! Kids were challenged to listen to the voices of people who truly love them and have their best-interest at heart and put negative influences waaaaaaaay in the back row of their lives.

After the food (including Nikki’s hilarious cupcakes), the games, the pep-talks, the prizes…all that was left was dancing, and did everyone dance!! So much freedom and happiness, fuelled on pure fun…is there anything better then that?

The next day I was still grinning, thinking of all the spontaneous, crazy, goofy, lovely things that happened all evening.

If there was ever a time to cheer the next generation on and feed them hope and encouragement, this is it! So thanks to all of you who did all the behind the scenes stuff: the hours of planning, the decorating, the set-up, the cooking, the serving, the dish-washing, the sweeping, the wiping down, the putting away…

Yay SunRidge, I love your attitude! Thanks for getting behind the fun.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



Three Kinds of Pie

When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” 
― C.S. Lewis

A little about what’s behind the Goofball (happening this Saturday). Just over a year ago, Holly and I were out having coffee together, talking about Out of School Care (OOSC) and all the kids. There is always lots to laugh about when it comes to our OOSC kids but there is a lot of heaviness too. It was this heaviness that we settled on a bit and talked about how, at younger ages it seems, children are becoming so self-conscious. At a younger age children are giving up child-like things. At a younger age the conversations they are having are less and less care-free and innocent. What ever happened to loving being a kid?

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

We talked about our own memories of being awkward and nerdy and all the things we loved to do that don’t seem to be a part of many children’s day-to-day now. We talked about how it should be, how kids should just have the chance to be goofy, to explore lots of different kinds of play, to be creative, to make-believe, and to be who they are and not be so image-aware. Out of this came the idea of an evening to just celebrate childhood and to affirm childhood.

Conversations rabbit-trail…we also talked about why you have to wait until a wedding to just have a good fun dance-party with your friends. What if we could bring those two ideas together? And out of this was born the idea of the Goofball.

Jesus celebrated children. He also poked at adults who had lost the ability to remember the spirit of childhood. It’s a good thing to lift childhood up and say, “hurray!” So that is what we are doing on Saturday — just throwing away our more conservative tendencies and having fun with a pile of kids!

Do you still know the joy of childhood?

Our students and student ministry leaders do. They all just came back from the Mexico House Building trip and it is something that is saturated in play. Oh the stories! When they share about their trip, DON’T MISS IT, because it will do you good!

Small groups are a great place to practice play too. We take time off to do things just for fun. This week our group celebrated a birthday with loads of food and laughs (maybe a little prank thrown in) and great conversation. We had not one but three kinds of pie just because we could (or, more accurately, because Marcella could) . One was even baked with a great big smile carved into the crust.

I happened to be reading in John 2 again this week about the wedding in Cana and I just can’t stop chuckling about this miracle. Was Jesus being a bit mischievous? The guests have all been having a great time, such a great time that they run out of wine. This celebration has obviously gone on for a while, everyone has had their fill but when asked to help with the issue, Jesus goes big. He has them fill 6 cisterns that are 20-30 gallons in size with water. Let’s go with 25 gallons each — that is 150 gallons or 567.812 litres which is approximately 757 bottles of wine. What an un-conservative, ridiculously excessive thing to do. One might even say “childish.”

Come on Saturday and leave your “adult” at home. Come and appreciate jumping around and noise and not being self-conscious. Come and appreciate the wonder and wealth of childhood and celebrate all their goofiness just the way GOD made them.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Things We Do (With the Stuff We Have. Part 4)

In Part 1, 2, 3 of this little blog series we have been talking about the “things we do” not because we have to, but because we want to, as an expression of thankfulness for all God has done for us. Today, just a short note about stuff. It is a good season to talk about stuff, isn’t it? So for today I just want to highlight the stuff SunRidge has.

I don’t think many people would drive by our campus and say, “Wow, look at what you have. Your building is an architectural wonder!” The fact is, we have a barn for a building (used to be a tourist attraction called Butterfly World) with open rafters, a cement floor, and pretty simple furnishings. But this is really beside the point. We are so grateful for this campus. Any time something is improved on this old building, its a BIG improvement! And anything we add to our inventory of “stuff we can use for ministry” becomes WELL USED.

The thing is, whatever we have, a lot or a little, it is meant to be stewarded and used. We are borrowing everything from God, and He wants His stuff to express love and care to others. This brings Him joy and reflects His character to the watching world.

Recently our friends down at the Westbank United Church were undergoing a kitchen renovation. They lead a wonderful ministry downtown for those who are in tough situations — providing a daily lunch. We have been fortunate to be able to partner with them in this endeavour. The renovation which happened in October meant the kitchen was out of use…what was to be done?

We happen to own a large BBQ/Grill and so our guys met their guys and hauled over what we had for them to use.

Our BBQ on the job at the United Church!

Our BBQ on the job at the United Church!

It’s just a BBQ. It’s just a small thing. But these are the kinds of things that sometimes save the day; or at least brighten the day when it fills a need. This BBQ could have just sat in our shed all season, but instead it was used, as it should be used to do the thing we want to do: serve others in the name of Jesus.

Here’s another thing. A few years ago we were able to finally renovate our own kitchen at SunRidge. It went from a tiny inadequate staff-room to a bright, efficient, functional commercial kitchen! This was one of those HUGE IMPROVEMENTS we are still all appreciating. Not only does this kitchen serve our Out of School Care program (reaching out to 3 schools in our area), our monthly soup Sundays which serve to create community, our Community Christmas Dinner which serves a wonderful Christmas dinner to all kinds of people in our wider community…it is also a practical place for people to meet, to cook and wrap up meals for those in need!

Recently Jon & Steph B’s small group used the kitchen to do just that! They made meals for a couple with a new baby and soup for a young lady who just had surgery.

When we “do things” for others we use what we have been given and go from there. What has God given you? It doesn’t matter if it is little (think of the boy with loaves and fishes) or much (think of Zacchaeus) God has given us time, treasure and talent. The question is, how will we use those things to love others the way God has loved us?

May this always be the “thing we do,” SunRidge, not stockpile our stuff but use it for God’s glory to build up what is broken, bring healing to what is wounded, encourage those who are downcast, welcome in those who need a family, serve those Jesus is putting on our path.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Get a Little Childish

I have a weekly catch-up with Walter Blackwood about Out Of School Care (OOSC) as he finds his way through his first year of being the Director of this program that is now 12 years old. It is always a good time, and I mean that. I love Walter’s heart for his role, extending love to these families in our care, leading our staff to passionately represent Jesus in this setting.

Walter is really getting into his role and embracing the child-like spirit. Check out his new shoes, a smashing success in OOSC last week!

shoesJPG

Every weekday we have up to 30 children spilling through our doors with all kinds of noise and silliness, stories and sorrows. It’s quite the little flock to shepherd, full of variety!

Here is one of the ways the staff work with all those wiggles. Periodically they roll some foam dice and everyone engages with a quick, active energy spender! There are rewards for doing this well (OOSC dollars) and these dollars are so coveted, kids will go to all lengths to win them.

If you look closely at the chart below, you will see that one girl ran on the spot for 40 minutes to beat out the competition. Another child did a 10 minute wall sit (have you ever tried a 10 minute wall sit?)

IMG_4022.JPG

Amid all the fun and games, Walter, Olivia, Julie, Holly, Alecia, and Matt throw themselves into KNOWING these kids and moms and dads so that they are there — like superheroes — on their ready for what is needed: a kind word, a prayer, a listening ear, guidance, mediation, brainstorming, encouragement, a challenge, comfort, approval and most of all, eyes to see them. Have you ever just needed to be seen in this big noisy world?

OOSC is going strong, but your prayers are needed. This past week Walt talked about two girls who are not getting along, each vying to get more attention than the other. How can the staff help these kids work together instead of against each other? We talked about kids who have questions about God and how can we handle this respectfully? We talked about someone in financial need and how we can help. We talked about sad kids, angry kids, kids that seem to get lost in the corners…there is always lots to talk about when you care.

In Matthew 18 Jesus called a little child over, and placed the child in the center of the circle of people. He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

It is a privilege to love and lead the small ones…and to learn from them too, the way of God’s Kingdom. If you want to find out more about oosc or be a volunteer and get in on the joy use this link!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen