Guest Blogger: Pastor Jennie Browne (written 10/25/16)
Last Sunday’s Harvest Festival was new to GUMchurch this year – the brainstorm of NextGen Ministries Director Kim Moore and the Children’s Ministry Team. I’ll admit I had mixed feelings about attending – Sunday evening is usually down time for me. By 1:00 PM on Sundays, I’ve gotten up early, led two worship services and a Bible Study class. My favorite way to spend the rest of the day is by taking a nap and eating a whole bowl of popcorn for dinner while watching something funny on Netflix.
But I knew how hard Kim and the other leaders had worked on the Harvest Festival. Plus, I’d promised to bring a gallon of cider. So I got myself out the door and back to the church.
And I’m so glad I did!
The gym was full of people of all ages having the best time! Pumpkin bowling, leaf rubbings, bean bag tossing, face painting – there was something for everyone. There were lots of church regulars present, plus many others who had heard about the Harvest Festival via social media and were visiting GUMchurch for the first time.
My favorite kid’s costume was Lily Tuinstra dressed as Super Snow White: the iconic Disney Snow White costume with a red Super Girl cape. Why be either sweet or powerful when you can be both? My favorite adult costume was Emily Brown dressed à la Mama on the Carol Burnett Show or Big Momma from the Martin Lawrence comedies, sporting her mother’s name on her nametag. Anne Brown, who looks nothing like that Mama character, stood nearby and wins my vote for Best Maternal Sport of the Year.
Where else in our world do multiple generations get to have fun together like this? Where else can we experience an expanded definition of family? Where else can community members feel welcomed just as they are?
I know it can be hard to get out of bed on Sunday morning in order to attend a worship service. I know that I’m not the only one who works long hours and looks forward to the chance to rest. I know that life can be a complicated game of juggling priorities.
But as I have learned in so many other situations, the effort I expend to connect with God and my neighbors is almost always rewarded many times over. Last Sunday I met new friends, learned more about others, experienced an injection of joy and laughter, and discovered – once again – how important and life-giving a vital church can be.
I hope you are discovering the same truth!