Children and Seminars Enrich Palmer Outreach
Members of the Palmer, Alaska, Church have been enjoying special outreach benefits this year from their children’s and health ministries.
A “family friendly” atmosphere in the Palmer cradle roll Sabbath school has encouraged mothers and fathers to participate and has enabled them to build friendships and support systems.
Cradle roll leaders encourage all parents to take turns providing crafts, stories, music, or snacks for the children. Many are new to the Adventist Church and are learning Bible stories for the first time, along with their children.
The leaders have tried to create an interesting and stimulating atmosphere in the room, and recently the room was decorated as a jungle. In the “jungle,” children bring their donations of food items and dry goods to Jesus, to fill a hut in the corner of the room. (All donations are passed along to the community services closet at the end of the quarter.)
The emphasis throughout the quarter was on Jesus’ kindness to everyone around Him and the example He sets for us.
Leaders had sponsored a mini-workshop for mothers, on program planning and teaching aids. After light refreshments, the mothers took part in a brainstorming session on how to create the “jungle look” they wanted in the room. Each mother in the workshop later helped translate those ideas into reality.
At the end of each quarter, the cradle roll class sponsors either a family picnic after church or a social event so the newest members of the class can get better acquainted with everyone.
Friendship among the families has grown, creating a comfortable working atmosphere in the class.
This “family friendly” emphasis has increased attendance, from a previous average of two or three children per week, to five times that number. Several non-attending members have been attracted back to church through cradle roll ministry.
On Sabbath, April 20, students from Matanuska Valley Adventist School presented a musical sermon.
Titled “Hurry On Down,” and led by Jack Sample, principal, the musical tells the story of Zaccheus, the tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of Jesus.
Students from kindergarten to ninth grade took part, accompanied by Elana Sample on the piano and page-turning help from Dee Myhre, kindergarten teacher. Many church members expressed delight and surprise at the students’ talent.
Palmer members recently learned that vegan food can be both healthful and delicious.
Member Sonia Brock served for a month last year at Battle Creek Lifestyle Health Center in Battle Creek, Mich., where her cousin, Yolanda Leamon, R.N., is food director.
When Brock returned to Alaska leaner, healthier, and enthusiastic about her cousin’s food, members urged her to invite her cousin to come to Palmer to hold a health seminar.
After many months, scores of phone calls, and a couple of headaches, they scheduled a four-day seminar this spring, in the Palmer Church fellowship room.
More than 40 guests attended each evening, a surprising number of men, and many non-Adventists.
Leamon fascinated attendees with her amazingly simple, but delicious, vegan breads, casseroles, sauces, entrées, ice-cream, and cheese. •