This weekend, at both our Brooklyn and Manhattan locations, we celebrated families and the diversity we have in our community.
Last Saturday, Kidstuf Brooklyn just had their first ever Easter Egg Hunt. Over 80 children and adults came together to take part in games and activities all organized by our Kidstuf parents and volunteers. Our goal was to give families space to celebrate with their children. Families who had spent Monday to Friday working or busying themselves with everyday tasks were given the space to just enjoy their kids - we took care of the rest. Everywhere I looked that afternoon, there were smiling faces, both young and old. We took care of the food, we brought the games and activities, we sang with them and we even painted their little faces.
There were a couple of families who were just passing by that joined us too! There was a particular set of grandparents with their beautiful one year old granddaughter who came and joined us. When I spoke to them, the only thing they could say was "I don't speak English" and so one of our volunteers gestured to the food to welcome them and another started sitting with their granddaughter engaging them in a craft. We created a welcoming and loving space for them. We built a bridge between us and them, saying they were welcome and language was not a barrier.
The parents and kids were eagerly anticipating the Easter Egg Hunt itself. One of our volunteers said she was moved to tears by the sheer joy on the kids' faces when they raced to fill their baskets with eggs. Right there, we had given this volunteer space to pour into these families and for her to be ministered to by experiencing the joy of these kids alongside them.
(To see all of the great photos by Efrain Hernandez and Jennifer Concepcion Hernandez from our Easter Egg Hunt, click here.)
The Sunday that followed, Forefront Brooklyn had their very first intergenerational Palm Sunday service. Kids and adults gathered together in the lobby and we were led by the worship team into the auditorium in a processional. The kids witnessed grown ups in worship and the adults witnessed how kids do worship too. Jonathan read the story of The Three Trees to the children and followed with the story of a family of Maccabees. Adults and children both saw how a sermon looked like to the other. We prayed together as a congregation when one of our families dedicated their son at church. Together, young and old, we committed as a church to help teach, lead, mentor and be a friend to this baby. This service gave everyone space to come together in faith: children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults and older adults, to worship together, learn together, teach each other and pray and care for one another.
We continued our yearly tradition of dedicating babies on Palm Sunday - this Sunday celebrating four new babies who had joined our community.
Here is our prayer for these families as they raise their children, and for us as a community:
Father God, thank you for making us your children. Thank you that we are more than saved, that we are brought into your family. Thank you for these parents, who have taken the step to dedicate their children to you. I pray for the parents, for the strength in the coming years to be good parents and good people - to live as examples for their children. I pray for the long nights they will have and the sacrifices they will make - be there with them as they do so for the love of their children. May they be reminded that it is a reflection of your love for us. I ask for wisdom and patience and humor for these parents as they raise their children. I pray also for this community, that teachers and leaders within it will take these children under their wings as they grow older and provide another adult influence in their life that points to you. Thank you for these beautiful children and for the opportunity we have in being a part of their lives. We love you and we thank you. Amen.