Central Christian Church of Jefferson hosted an afterschool program on Wednesdays called “Miracles” for nearly 20 years. School would get out at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons and about 30 kids would arrive at the church around 2:30 p.m. However, according to Heather Kinsey, a co-chair of the Christian Education Committee at Central Christian Church, the afternoon proved to be a long time to hold kids’ attention.
“They would get bored, and by the time their parents would pick them up around 5 p.m., many of them would be asleep,” she says.
At the same time, attendance for the church’s Sunday school classes was dropping. They knew they needed to shake things up. The solution: combine many aspects of both the church’s Sunday and Wednesday activities into one big new program on Wednesday nights called “Miracles and Meals.”
The church received a grant from its supervising regional office to make and provide meals every Wednesday night from September through next May. The meal, which is free, is served from 5-5:45 p.m., followed by worship, music and a different activity every week, including education, community service, games, movies and crafts. And instead of being focused on just children and young adults, Miracles and Meals was instead created for the whole family to attend.
“We wanted our whole congregation to be able to gather together once a week, not worry about cooking and spend time with each other,” Heather says.
Christian Education Committee members also offer rides to the church if attendees are unable to drive or if parents works late but still wants their child to go.
So far, the program has been a success. The first Miracles and Meals night, a bonfire held at the family farm of a congregation member, attracted 45 people. The group also has more fun activities planned for the fall, including the high school’s cheerleaders coming and performing for homecoming, a pumpkin carving night and “reverse trick-or-treating,” when congregation members will go door to door in Jefferson and give things away instead of taking.
If you would like more details about Miracles and Meals or want to arrange a ride to the program, call the church at 515-386-4315.