Eight-year-olds to 80-year-olds worked together in Kingston, Ontario, recently as part of an Intergenerational Service Experience.
First Christian Reformed Church spent a weekend helping several organizations, such as the Salvation Army Family Services, a pregnancy center, a women’s shelter, a cathedral’s drop-in center, and a food bank. Despite the high July temperatures, more than 70 people did odd jobs over four days.
Alanna Revelle paints the gymnasium of the Salvation Army Family and Community Services facilities during a weekend of service.
Small groups of mixed ages shared daily devotions and worked together. They later joined other groups for worship and for a time of sharing called “Beyond the Pew.”
Gil Clelland, a church planter in London, Ontario, led worship. Communion was held in the parking lot.
As part of the experience, First CRC hoped to encourage relationships among people within their own congregation. Hetty VanDasselaar said, “It was very powerful” to hear people she did not know well come up and speak about God’s goodness during the weekend. She also enjoyed seeing mixed ages gathered in small groups with their Bibles open, talking and praying together.
Rick Kramer said, “People were impressed that we were helping them.” The Salvation Army Family Services, for example, had felt overwhelmed by needs, wondering how they were going to get all the necessary work done. They were surprised and delighted when First CRC offered to partner with them. Though the Salvation Army is always helping people, the staff did not expect others to come to their aid.
Elly Breimer found it “eye-opening” to see the needs in the neighborhood of her church. “We are the church—we are the hands and feet of Christ,” she said.