Placerville Church Raises $5,000 for Water: Children's Mission at Federated

May 20, 2010

By Jodie Regan
Children's Minister, Federated Church

Every April is "Children's Mission Month" at Federated Church in Placerville. Federated Church is made up of people from the United Methodist tradition and the Presbyterian tradition, and all faith seekers.
We just completed our 3rd Annual mission month with the joyful result of meeting our goal to raise $5,000 for water!
All this learning and giving is a result of many influences. Our church family is overflowing with people who work tirelessly for others. All generations are included in this. Men and women give of their time, strength, effort, resources, and monies. We of the generations to follow are walking in their footsteps. They are handing down a beautiful legacy.
And where does this come from? Who authors it all? We choose to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. When asked what is the most important thing to do, Jesus replied, "Feed my sheep." There's nothing like the feeling of helping others.
Specifically, the children's mission concept is the result of a conversation between a young mother in our congregation and a long-time member of our missions committee. This young mother, Heather, was serving as a volunteer for the Alternative Christmas Fair alongside lifelong missionary, Leslie Bush, at church one Sunday morning. She marveled at the effervescent generosity of our seniors and those who have been longtime Methodists and Presbyterians. Heather loved the fact that her three children were learning this generosity by example. Leslie told Heather about Heifer International, and the vision was born. The two women brought the idea to me, and the footwork began.
The concept was obviously blessed by God, as it has grown. To date, the Children's Mission has raised $21,350 and given it to organizations which are able to turn it into sustainable help.
Each year, through conversations between the Children's Mission organizers and the Connections Ministry Team at Federated, we choose a different cause that will be tangible for our children. Sunday morning lesson times are spent learning about how Jesus taught us to be generous. We learn about other communities and the fact that those living far away are just like we are: They have needs and wants. They laugh and go to school. But they don't have the resources we have, so we can give and appreciate and open our minds.
In addition, the children find that the Federated congregation is thrilled when they are up front, telling about what they have learned. The children are met with welcoming, appreciative, and even proud faces, as well as generous donations. The children learn that their involvement and presence is important and cherished.
Year 1 was Heifer International. For five Sundays in a row, we sang songs, presented information with posters and PowerPoints, decorated and sold animal-shaped cookies, and more. Our faith family at Federated responded with overwhelming generosity. That year we raised more than $10,000 for Heifer International. That is two "gift arks" full of sustainable resources for villages and people.
Year 2 was "We're All in the Same Boat," for Hatua Likoni children's center in Likoni, Kenya. Our children learned about those children. We corresponded with letters and hand- drawn pictures. We raised money for the organization to help them purchase property and gave enough for them to purchase a small fishing boat. Once again (even in the face of a difficult economy), the church met the children with enthusiastic generosity. We raised more than $6,350.
Year 3 - April, 2010 - "My Cup Runneth Over!"
This year's effort was all about water. Our children have never given much thought to our water supply. They have always had enough water, any time they need it. Our water is clean and available all the time. We learned together that many, many families are not so blessed. We learned that we have much to be thankful for, and that we can conserve water so there is more to go around. We can do things to help. Our church met the challenge of $5,000 (again, in the midst of a difficult economy). $2,500 is on its way to Church World Service Water for All, and $2,500 is going to UMCOR Clean Water for Haiti.