God has prospered our ministry to children through the many faithful members and friends of Oak Hills who have contributed to the care and spiritual nurture of the young children in our church and community. Thank you, Oak Hills, for being a church where children can be nurtured in the gospel of Jesus Christ and raised in an extended family of faith! As your Christian Education pastor, I am grateful; as a parent of two Oak Hills children, I am exceedingly grateful. Thank you.
2016 was another great year. We now offer three different Sunday school classes for our toddlers through 5th graders. What a great improvement from the single class offered just a few years ago! Ages 3 years through Kindergarten continue to participate in the Sacred Story class taught by me in the CE wing. This fall, we were able to split the elementary grades so that grades 1-3 attend Explore the Bible Younger Elementary and grades 4-5 attend Explore the Bible Upper Elementary. This split allows each group to use their own age-appropriate curriculum, and for there to be a better teacher-to-student ratio. We have an amazing group of volunteers teaching and assisting with Explore the Bible. What a gift!
With Expedition Norway in June 2016, we enjoyed another great week of VBS. The children explored bible stories from Daniel and Revelation, and learned that God is good all the time, even when the events of our lives can be scary or sad. They also learned about Norwegian culture, and heard the testimonies of Norwegian children who are Christian. Attendance to VBS seems to have plateaued at about 80 students, which is a great number for OHPC: we can minister to a large number of children, but without feeling cramped or overwhelmed. This new curriculum called for the largest number of volunteers we’ve ever had at VBS, and I was amazed by the generosity of our congregation with your time. We had a ton of volunteers, and the kids got to spend time with a greater number of adult and teens who know Jesus. Wow.
The children and teenagers did a great job with the Unexpected Stars Christmas pageant this past December. Adding lines back this year meant a little more work for our actors, and they stepped-up with energy and enthusiasm. Many thanks to our young evangelists who shared Jesus’ birth story with creativity and humor!