Unique timing and collaboration led to one of Manitoba Church Manitoba Camps with Meaning sites hosting two days of the children’s assembly—a first in Assembly gathering history. And they did so in the midst of flood conditions.
Twenty children embraced the theme of Wild Hope and experienced the wider church community at a kids’ level. Participants aged 4-14 came from Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, and as far away as Cuauhtémoc, Mexico.
At Camp Assiniboia, the flooding Assiniboine River, which marks the camp’s eastern and northern boundaries, created obstacles—and new opportunities for the children’s program.
Although the ropes course (on the flooded side of the dike) and the swimming pool were off limits due to high water levels, the kids nonetheless had a splashing good time. For some this meant immersing themselves in the story of Jesus in the boat on stormy waters. For others, the shallow, the sandy-bottomed “pool” in the volleyball court led to the new sport of water volleyball.
Bible times included a first-time experience with MennoMedia’s new Bible storybook, Shine On.
Back in Winnipeg, younger and older children were able to experience the rich and family-friendly worship at this year’s assembly. On Sunday morning, about 70 children and un-baptized youth emerged from the larger gathered body to receive a special blessing and alternative elements at communion.
Thank you, Mennonite Church Manitoba and Camps with Meaning for the Camp Assiniboia venue, and to the gifted and enthusiastic work of Sarah Janzen and Sarah Lazar, program leaders for the summer camp ministry. Together with Heidi Nighswander-Rempel, Children’s Assembly coordinator and a wider team of volunteers, they helped children experience Assembly 2014.
The active involvement of children and youth in the gathered life of the wider church is but one of many signs that God is indeed at work among us. We have good reason to claim the wild hope of God’s reign breaking in among us.
To see links to more Assembly content, go to Stories and images of Assembly 2014.