Riverside Moms' Group Reaches Out

Riverside Moms' Group Reaches Out Outreach. Witness. Fellowship. Ministry. Often these words are used in conjunction with evangelistic campaigns or church-growth plans. But after four years, Riverside Church (Washougal, Wash.) members now associate those words with two more: Moms’ Group. Laura Mancia and Heather Devlin, both Riverside members, were impressed in 2002 that the church needed a ministry where moms could discuss their joys and their concerns as well as invite their non-churched friends. After sharing their ideas with a few others, the two created a now-vibrant ministry known simply as Riverside Moms’ Group. “At first we tried to meet twice a month,” Mancia said, “but we realized it was a little too much because all of us were new moms trying to adjust to our daily schedules.” Cutting back to once per month, the moms and children would gather in each other’s homes for about an hour and a half. The kids played while the moms chatted. Eventually Devlin discovered that the Camas Public Library had a meeting room they would allow people to use free of charge for community events. Since Moms’ Group is definitely open to others, the library was happy to host their monthly meetings. “It makes it more accessible for non-Adventist people,” Mancia explained. “They are more likely to come to a public location than to go to the home of somebody they don’t know.” Meeting at the library also provides stability and regularity. “If you’re not regular in your scheduling, people don’t know when to show up, and it kind of falls apart,” Mancia said. In addition to the once-a-month meetings at the library, Moms’ Group also takes occasional field trips, like to the zoo, children’s museum, lilac gardens and fire station. And the group hosts an annual Christmas party so the dads and other members of the family can participate in the fun and fellowship. Though the group enjoys its fun times, the core Adventist members have not forgotten their mission: to reach out to non-churched moms. Riverside Church placed an announcement in the newspaper, and, “to our surprise and excitement, there was one lady who actually called the church office,” Mancia reported. This lady has since become a regular member of Moms’ Group and has attended church a few times with her children. Recently, Mancia visited with another mom at the local playground and then felt impressed to invite her to the group. At the next meeting, in the mother walked with her three children. “They had a great time,” Mancia said. “She doesn’t even know what church we’re part of, but…first things first. Let’s get to know her and be her friend, and then things will happen in their natural order.” Mancia’s strategy seems to be working. The average monthly attendance at Moms’ Group functions has grown to about seven moms and 15 kids. “We’re excited to see the way the Lord has led our Moms’ Group up to this point, and we can’t wait to see what He has in store for us,” she said. For more information, e-mail riverside-sda@juno.com.

Riverside Moms' Group

Reaches Out

Outreach. Witness. Fellowship. Ministry. Often these words are used in conjunction with evangelistic campaigns or church-growth plans. But after four years, Riverside Church (Washougal, Wash.) members now associate those words with two more: Moms’ Group.

Laura Mancia and Heather Devlin, both Riverside members, were impressed in 2002 that the church needed a ministry where moms could discuss their joys and their concerns as well as invite their non-churched friends. After sharing their ideas with a few others, the two created a now-vibrant ministry known simply as Riverside Moms’ Group.

“At first we tried to meet twice a month,” Mancia said, “but we realized it was a little too much because all of us were new moms trying to adjust to our daily schedules.” Cutting back to once per month, the moms and children would gather in each other’s homes for about an hour and a half. The kids played while the moms chatted.

Eventually Devlin discovered that the Camas Public Library had a meeting room they would allow people to use free of charge for community events. Since Moms’ Group is definitely open to others, the library was happy to host their monthly meetings. “It makes it more accessible for non-Adventist people,” Mancia explained. “They are more likely to come to a public location than to go to the home of somebody they don’t know.”

Meeting at the library also provides stability and regularity. “If you’re not regular in your scheduling, people don’t know when to show up, and it kind of falls apart,” Mancia said.

In addition to the once-a-month meetings at the library, Moms’ Group also takes occasional field trips, like to the zoo, children’s museum, lilac gardens and fire station. And the group hosts an annual Christmas party so the dads and other members of the family can participate in the fun and fellowship.

Though the group enjoys its fun times, the core Adventist members have not forgotten their mission: to reach out to non-churched moms. Riverside Church placed an announcement in the newspaper, and, “to our surprise and excitement, there was one lady who actually called the church office,” Mancia reported. This lady has since become a regular member of Moms’ Group and has attended church a few times with her children.

Recently, Mancia visited with another mom at the local playground and then felt impressed to invite her to the group. At the next meeting, in the mother walked with her three children. “They had a great time,” Mancia said. “She doesn’t even know what church we’re part of, but…first things first. Let’s get to know her and be her friend, and then things will happen in their natural order.”

Mancia’s strategy seems to be working. The average monthly attendance at Moms’ Group functions has grown to about seven moms and 15 kids. “We’re excited to see the way the Lord has led our Moms’ Group up to this point, and we can’t wait to see what He has in store for us,” she said.

For more information, e-mail riverside-sda@juno.com.

May 01, 2006 / Oregon Conference
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