OUR CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Sunday School ~ 9:30 AM (September-May)
At Providence-Fort Washington United Methodist Church, we want our children and adults to “fly like eagles.” That’s why we strongly support Christian education through our active Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and the regular Children's Message during the 11:00 a.m. Worship Service. Consistent, creative Christian education sets a strong and positive foundation in five key areas:
Learning the Bible: People learn about God’s love as they hear the stories of the Bible. In surveys that ask the question, “What is the most important thing children learn in Sunday school?” the answer is most often “the Bible.” It is in Christian education settings that children learn the stories of the people of God and become familiar with God’s teachings through their study of the Bible. It is in Sunday school that children develop a Christian understanding of the purposes of Scripture, and it is through their experiences in Sunday school that they learn to recognize God’s call to them through the stories of the Bible as well as through the lives of the Christians who surround them.
Accepting God’s Grace: Knowing the Bible is not enough. In fact, many people who are not Christians know more about the Bible than many of us who are Christians. Knowledge of the Bible doesn’t create Christians. The belief that the words of the Bible are God’s message to us is what impels a person to become a Christian. It is the recognition that God’s love shown through Jesus Christ is real. It is the acceptance of God’s saving grace offered through Jesus Christ as a special gift that enables one to become the person God created him or her to be.
Growing in Christian Faith: Christian faith becomes a reality when the stories of the Bible and our personal experiences of God’s love and grace inspire us to love God and to trust God’s guidance, as we make decisions about living our lives each day. Christians want to learn more about Jesus’ teachings. Christians want to discover the gifts of God that come through the Holy Spirit. Christians want to turn their full attention to learning more about what it means to live as a person of faith. Christians are not satisfied simply to know the Bible and to believe in God; Christians want to grow in their understanding of God’s purposes. Christians want their relationship with God to grow deeper day by day and year by year.
Becoming Part of a Christian Community: Christians recognize that the ability to grow in relationship to God is possible only in fellowship with other Christians. Although Christians value time alone in prayer and communion with God, Christians also welcome times to praise God and give thanks for God’s gracious love and care in worship and prayer with one another. Through the bond of Christian relationship that develops, Christians strengthen one another so that they are able to carry their experience of God’s presence and love into the activities of their everyday lives.
Answering God’s Call to Christian Living: Living a Christian life does not come automatically. It comes through study, worship, and learning together. Sunday school is a beginning for children and youth. Sunday school, as well as many other settings for Christian formation, is essential for adults! When people learn to follow the example of Jesus Christ, they become Christian examples, revealing the love of God through their own actions at home, at work, at play, at church, or anywhere they may be. A yearning to follow the example of Jesus leads Christians to recognize the needs of others and to seek ways to serve in God’s name. Through Christian education activities at church individuals and families find ways to serve God by serving others.
The lessons of Christian education make it possible for us to practice love and to live as children of God. How well we—children, youth, or adults—learn those lessons day by day will determine what kind of church we are Sunday by Sunday.
Adapted from Christian Education? What’s That? published by Cokesbury.
2016 VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
If you looked too fast, you might’ve thought that you were at the beach. Beach towels, surf boards and palm trees were in the line of vision. But it wasn’t Ocean City; It was Vacation Bible School at Providence-Fort Washington United Methodist Church! Indeed, the 2016 “Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love” Vacation Bible School (VBS) was an exciting learning and fun-filled week for all. For five days, more than 20 kids and adults participated in the annual VBS, bringing children together from Providence-Fort Washington United Methodist Church and Spirit of Elijah Kingdom Church.
The children had a wonderful time learning the musical theme songs and learning the different dances that went with each song. “Snappy” the crab – this year’s mascot – had a great time participating with the children. In Bible story time, they learned of God’s amazing love, drawing from scripture that showed them different examples of God’s love. Each day focused on a different theme: how God creates, how God helps, how God loves, how God sends and how God calms.
The adult Bible study was also well attended and much was learned as the participants discussed each day’s scripture lesson. It was noted how studying using interactive discussion is a great way to experience scripture in new ways, ways that may have not been realized before.
As the week ended, everyone who attended VBS went away riding the wave of God’s amazing love and surfing out into the world to share their Vacation Bible School experience with others.