Looking around at a Friendship gathering, Shellie Power realized that the people involved, many of whom have disabilities, were not being challenged to serve. So they decided to assemble Easter gift bags for local children.
Power is the director of Hope Centre Ministries, a ministry supported by the Christian Reformed churches in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“We wanted to do a project that would be at a different time of year because it would be special,” Power said. “Easter means a lot because of our belief in the resurrection of Jesus and we wanted to share our celebration with others.”
For the past three years, the group from Hope Centre has incorporated the true meaning of Easter within the bags. “One year, Bibles were donated and we put one in each basket. Another year, we included Christian children's magazines. This year, we incorporated poems,” said Power.
Another ministry in one of Winnipeg's most impoverished neighborhoods organizes the distribution of the baskets.
According to one of the leaders there, “We have to be ready because once the first basket is handed out, children come looking. Oohs and aahs abound.”
The ability to serve and to share is especially important to Power because Hope Centre Ministries is comprised primarily of adults with disabilities.
“We, like many others in our broader faith community, need to challenge ourselves to go beyond talking about what we believe and put our faith into practice,” said Power.
“[People with disabilities] are often viewed as needing to receive, and then we get used to receiving. Opportunities such as creating these baskets turn it all upside down and challenge that thinking in all of us.”