Moving Sunday School Outdoors

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What can a congregation do when the construction and renovation project on their building runs into the new church year? This fall Ann Arbor (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church found itself in that situation.

Not wanting to cancel its children’s ministries during the construction, the church moved its Sunday school classes outdoors. Member Mary Admiraal said, “Our desire to continue the program during construction conveys to students, parents, and other congregants that we value Christian education.” 

Each week, more than 65 children from grades K-8 met outdoors. The outdoor environment created the perfect place to enter God’s story, according to Admiraal. “Much like the followers of Jesus, students heard the stories Jesus told while sitting on the hillside nestled among the tall pine trees or in the shade of the sprawling Sycamore tree,” with the Faith and Food Garden nearby. Additionally, they offered their tithes toward the purchase of chickens and goats.

Only once this fall, when Michigan temperatures hovered between 32 and 35 degrees (0-2 C), did they have to abandon their outdoor environment. 

Eighty percent of the construction work was to be completed in early November, when once again the Sunday school classes will meet indoors.

About the Author

Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.