During the sermon and prayer parts of our worship services, typically from 11-11:30AM, our youngest kids have been invited upstairs to participate in Godly Play. This year, kids who are a little older will also have an option to participate in a new program we are creating. Our hope is to launch this new program simultaneously with Godly Play on Sunday, September 18.

Here is a little background:
  • Following a July 26 brainstorm session, a proposal was brought to the August 4 Council meeting and approved. Deacon Teresa Elenbaas and Angie R. are leading coordination and planning.
  • Rationale to add program for older kids: We love having children with us in worship; they enjoy the music, and they add to the worship experience for all of us. But lecture style sermons and extended prayer times do not always engage them. This new program, like Godly Play for the younger children, will be another avenue for them to receive, engage, wonder, and respond to biblical narratives in some age appropriate ways.
  • Details: new program will include elements we value from Godly Play and other curricula - hands on, creative response to stories; individual kids' kits to which children can return each Sunday they are present; grouping stories with overarching themes.
  • Frequency: volunteer levels will help determine whether this is weekly, three times a month, or an every other Sunday program.
Samples of stories and curriculum will be posted next week after Teresa and Angie have opportunity to make some choices. If you have ideas, concerns, or want to offer your help, please contact Teresa with feedback until about September 6; Teresa and Angie will be fine tuning program details between September 6 and September 11, which is the Sunday we announce and celebrate the beginning of our next Children and Parent Ministry season. September 18 will the be the first Sunday for Godly Play and this new program.

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The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.