The Church of the Nazarene in St. Vincent on Saturday partnered with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) to host “Fun Reach” — a zonal Church of the Nazarene activity ministering to the material and spiritual needs of children and families.
The activity was held at the Rillan Hill Church of the Nazarene and included children from communities in St. Vincent where there are also Churches of the Nazarene, namely — Penniston, Arnos Vale, and Enhams.
Ro-Anne Harry, co-ordinator of the St. Vincent Zone of the Church of the Nazarene Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI) said the event was also held in celebration of Child’s Month.
She said Fun Reach is an activity in which the church reaches out to children and families who may be in need of support or encouragement.
Clothing, food items, and school supplies were distributed at the event.
“Whatever need you we can meet at the time, as well as sharing, most of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Harry added.
The event was held under the theme “Making the connection with children, reaching them for Jesus Christ”, and included the distribution of animal balloons, and face painting.
Harry said the event would normally include bouncing castles and slides and different fun activities for children, but that could not have been done because of the rain on Saturday.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) was responsible for the gospel lesson at Saturday’s event and also provided material that the Sunday School departments can use in their Bible clubs.
CEF is an international interdenominational Christian non-profit organisation founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937, headquartered in Missouri, United States.
CEF has many different ministries for children, but the primary ones are the Good News Club and the 5-Day Club.
The Good News Club and 5-Day Club ministries take place in neighbourhood settings such as homes, backyards, schools and community centres all over the world. These fast-paced, one-hour programmes are designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment.
National director of CEF in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Pastor Kelron Karry, said the aim of CEF internationally is to evangelise boys and girls with the Gospel of the Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.
He noted that CEF is not a church but works along with churches to try to build their children’s ministries.
“In the end, build the community starting from the children up,” Pastor Harry said.
He said CEF has been in SVG for some time, but is now trying to make its presence more known in the country.
They have obtained permission from the Ministry of Education to conduct the programme in primary school.
The goal is to have a presence in every primary school in SVG by 2017, Pastor Harry said, adding that CEF is already 40 per cent there.
During the summer, CEF also has five-day clubs, where they go to different communities and do five-day ministries.
Pastor Harry says the response has been “excellent”.
CEF is also equipping adults with the skills necessary to reach children from Christ.
Two weeks ago, 14 persons graduated from its “Teaching Children Effectively” course, and a cohort of 16 persons graduated the programme several months ago.
“So we have teachers and others persons who are in children’s ministry showing interest and coming and doing this. It’s a excellent course,” Pastor Harry said.
He noted the number of social problems in SVG, including crime and violence, and pointed out a need to disciple children into Christian living.
“Children are the greatest field for harvest. Our research show that most people come to know Christ by the time they are 14 years old. When a person passes 14 years old, it is very, very difficult so that is why we are pressing home, trying to reach children at this age.
“And, I tell you, all that is happening in St. Vincent, you know the violence — people would say it is happening throughout the world, but we have a responsibility and I think persons are seeing we need to do something, not trying to solve the problem when a person is an adult, but trying to reach them while they are children and churches have been responding and have been very open to it,” Pastor Harry said.