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KidsPak Reaps Results

   

Winnipeg, Man.—KidsPak is a Sunday School kit to help children foster a sense of stewardship and mission. Produced by Mennonite Church Canada, it outlines church-relevant issues of the day in easy to understand language for children, and encourages adults to participate with them.

Last year, Tool Time was a one of the projects featured in KidsPak. It outlined how children could help purchase building materials for a new clubhouse for a Native Ministries program in the community of Manigotagan, Manitoba. The clubhouse is used to teach and do woodworking crafts with children in the community. Completed items are sold, providing extra income in a community where steady jobs are hard to come by. In the process, children learn useful skills that may help them find jobs later in life.

Twenty-four Sunday school classes from Ontario to Alberta helped raise over $4,400 for the clubhouse project. It was completed on August 11 this year, four and one half days after a volunteer building crew from Emmanuel Baptist Church (Billings, Montana) arrived to erect the structure.

KidsPak is produced and edited by Lynette Wiebe, in consultation with other staff and church leaders. "It's really nice to see the work that goes into KidsPak become fruitful and multiply," says Wiebe.

Walter Franz, associate executive secretary, Native Ministries, concurs. "Watching a project like this come full circle, from request to completion, means a lot for those involved. It's especially important to reconnect the children with the completed project-to show them the results of their efforts."

Meanwhile, John Zacharias, Pastor at Manigotagan Community Chapel is grateful for all the help. "Thank-you very much children, teachers, Sunday school superintendents," says Zacharias in a letter. "Excitement for this coming winter's club program is already evident. Three boys stopped in at the shop shortly after the Montana group left and asked how old they had to be to join the club. They're ready to go."

Zacharias says the group from Montana also donated $6000 CDN to the cause. A local children's bible study class raised another $120, and a nearby cottage owner who appreciates the work being done in Manigotagan donated $1,000.

Zacharias is grateful not only for the funding and volunteer labour, but for the selfless giving of both children and adults. He cites 2 Corinthians 8:3: "They gave themselves first to the Lord and then in keeping with God's will." And he's quick to note that the project wasn't a one-way affair. "One Sunday school class sent a special letter together with photographs of (the) children. Each child in the class composed a personal letter, and each child received a letter in return."

The most recent KidsPak edition, to appear in church mailboxes soon, is a twenty-page, five-activity booklet that provides a step-by-step guide for teachers, parents, and other church leaders.

From Soul Food Spinners to Coins for Camp Equipment, each project features a mini, hands-on activity designed to help children develop a sense of mission and connect with the stories of others. Instructors can use all the activities, or pick and choose from the grouping.

KidsPak has been getting positive reviews from leaders who like its easy to use and understand format. Most churches introduce the projects to both children and adults in large group settings or at intergenerational gathering times.

Interested leaders can find the latest edition of KidsPak (2000-2001) at http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/resources/kidspak. Printed versions will continue to be sent by mail, but those with an electronic inclination can now download these items via the internet. Individuals are also encouraged to contact the Resource Centre toll free at 1-866-888-6785, visit the Resource Centre when in the area, or send requests for hard copies by email.

Don't know about KidsPak?

  • What it is: KidsPak is a Sunday School kit to help children foster a sense of stewardship and mission. It contains projects and activities designed to connect children with church relevant issues of the day.

  • Who gets it? Every conference church receives KidsPak once a year by mail. If you're not seeing it, check with your pastor, church leadership people, or whoever picks up the mail. It's also available for download

  • When does it come out? It is normally mailed out in late summer.

  • How is it used? There are lots of creative ways to integrate KidsPak activities into Sunday school lessons. Some projects are long-term in nature (like the Tool Time project). Others can be done over the course of one or a few Sundays. Most churches introduce long-term projects during intergenerational gathering times so parents and adults become involved together with the children.