By Nader Hanna
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13] YAS | Children Ministry at Saint Paula Church, Ard El Golf. Cairo, Egypt.
We’ve written a few posts about navigating pandemics as a church. And the Coptic Church, long characterized by its adherence to tradition, appears to have been significantly altered by the coronavirus pandemic. Many churches had closed their doors to combat the coronavirus’s spread, with the vast majority saying that worship services had moved entirely online.
Social hours and church suppers are a thing of the past, at least for now. The changes are not all negative. Many fathers have intensified efforts to stay in touch with their congregations and maintain their church communities. And attaining to Coptic Kids are no different. The shift to online communication on platforms such as Zoom has also introduced some new efficiencies.
In Egypt, Saint Paula Church, Ard El Golf, near Cairo, has reacted to the coronavirus shutdown oppositely, with a new yearning to ignite their parish kids. The church responded to the need to continue children’s ministry by resuming their annual convention online.
“Churches are, of course, integral parts of their communities and are often on the front line of responding to disasters, both pastorally and culturally. Experience from prior scourges has shown that churches are particularly well-placed to build trust and hope, counter fear, build community resilience, and mental and spiritual strength.” Said Sherif Adel, Head of the Church Ministry and YAS Group.
“Some YAS games utilized the Zoom Meeting App, and others launched on the WhatsApp group” YAS | Children Ministry at Saint Paula Church, Ard El Golf. Cairo, Egypt.
And that’s how the church got motivated to find a way to keep up the church annual ritual of having a winter conference. “Our primary purpose was to create a fun and safe environment where children begin or continue their journey to know God, find freedom, discover their purpose and make a difference at a young age.” Fr. Armia Helmy stated in support of the YAS online convention idea.
The idea of “You Are a Star”, YAS online conference started with one of the spiritual leadership, Sherif Adel, putting the idea out as he aspired to give kids hope and make them receive God’s words in a safe environment during the pandemics. Still, yet the challenge was how to add the fun activities to the conference?
The conference targeted preteens, which means that they need to create an energetic atmosphere to keep up with the kids and pursue them to invest in attending the activities. A thriving youth group is crucial for churches that want to grow.
The parents helped by making the kids follow the schedule. Mr. Sherif gathered a team and named it “YAS.” And the YAS game team prepared games and activities, keeping things fresh. FR. Armia Helmy supervised the activities.
Some YAS games utilized the Zoom Meeting App, and others launched on the WhatsApp group, as the Free Zoom meeting was limiting to 40 minutes which wasn’t adequate for some Games. The games encouraged kids to get more insight into the convention subject, explore approaches to implement moral values in their social lives, and keep their energy and spirit up.
Example of Games:
Game Name: Criminal Cases
Timing: 30 min
Game Name: We give the kids a criminal case with a set of clues, and they have to go through it till they find the answer
Sample Case: At a large office, people heard the sound of Gunshots. Forensic confirmed the victim was shot with a pistol from the side; the shooter must have used his right hand and escaped through the window as the door was locked. Three suspects were named:
- The First: I am not the killer because I have a phobia of bullets sound.
- The Second: I am not the killer because I am left-handed.
- The Third: I am not the killer because I have a phobia of heights.
The officer concluded his investigation and wrote his statements identifying the shooter.
Game Name: Bible’s Riddles
Time: 20 min
Demonstration: kids have to answer questions using their Bible.
Example: Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
Game Name: Guess The Hymn?
Time: 30 min
Demonstration: We play a hymn at a slow-motion or fast speed and make them guess the hymn name
Game Name: Speed Answers
Time: 15 min
Demonstration: We ask basic Bible questions, and the team that answers most of the questions right in a shorter time wins.
Game Name: Guess Who?
Time: 30 min
Demonstration: We show a picture of a science’s celebrity or an old actress and let kids guess their occupation, their nationality, and their routine, then we tell them their story to make them realize that how snap judgments can affect behavior
Game Name: Picture And Story
Time: 30 min
Demonstration: This game relies on giving the kids a character picture and makes them create their perspective, then we tell the real story behind that person
Game Name: Password
Time: 30 min
Demonstration: We give kids letters and make them figure the password out of those letters.
As shown above, most of the YAS games focused on knowing the mystery behind someone’s life or how you create your perspective based on superficial reasons, as the goal of this conference was to understand how kids see God and narrate the truth about God. God’s image created in the kids’ minds can significantly impact their relationship with God, and that image could fall weak during dark times.
“The coronavirus presents many hurdles, but every obstacle is an opportunity. As a church, we have the privilege of aiding parents and children.” YAS | Children Ministry at Saint Paula Church, Ard El Golf. Cairo, Egypt.
Both parents and kids had so much fun with the YAS activities as many parents were fascinating and joined the games. The kids were satisfied by the games and all activities, as highlighted by one kid’s feedback saying, “I had so much fun in the past 2 days, I’m really happy for attending and thank you all for your effort as the convention exceeded my expectations”.
The convention was a complete success as YAS Ministry, messengers of God’s words, aimed to deliver support for the kids and their parents during the lock-down to bring joy and peace. The convention wouldn’t succeed without Fr. Armia Helmy supporting the convention idea, evaluating all subjects, and give valuable feedback. Thanks to the church game team for creating the games’ layouts and various ideas to connect games to the convention subject.
The coronavirus presents many hurdles, but every obstacle is an opportunity. As a church, we have the privilege of aiding parents and children. We get to help facilitate that at no cost, no-obligation, and no strings attached for these children and families.
During this time when we cannot corporally wrap our arms around each other, Let us open doors to be the loving embrace of God to our communities.
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2021-03-31 from Vancouver, Canada
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