Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church in Leduc, Alberta, has found a tangible way of helping families mark their children’s faith walk at home.
The church presents every baptized infant with a Faith Chest to use as a repository for articles significant to the child’s walk with Christ throughout his or her life. Families can fill the Faith Chest with photos, symbols, books, and other reminders of the milestones and events in the child’s faith journey. “We saw the importance of treasuring faith memories as the child grew, giving parents an opportunity to explain why certain things were in their Faith Chest,” explained pastor Peter Tuininga.
In the nearly two years since they started, 26 Faith Chests have been presented at Ebenezer. “We have been blessed,” Tuininga said, “with a man in our congregation who is a gifted craftsman, and he built the chests. His name is Dick Opdendries.”
Kendyl, daughter of Barry and Kelly Hofstra, was one of the first babies to receive a Faith Chest. She shares hers with brother Calum, who was baptized before Faith Chests became a tradition. Kelly describes its contents: “There are baptism certificates and special cards with nice messages, including ones from the grandparents and great-grandparents, [and] photographs of the kids with pastor Tuininga. Kendyl’s baptism dress is in there and some drawings from Sunday school. We’re hoping to use the Faith Chest all through school for things like the children’s report cards as a way of celebrating the gifts God has given them. I would like to add the first Scripture verse they memorize.”
The Faith Chest idea originated with the Faith@home movement, which is supported by the Willow Creek Association and Focus on the Family.