Small churches are bringing Sunday School back in full force. And it’s not necessarily strict religious instruction youngsters are getting.
According to a deacon at the Christian Community Baptist Church, 80 Van Buren St., shepherded by interim Pastor Barry Harris, “its values, focusing, music instruction, reading and so much more, the way it used to be when I was coming up, except we’re listening to the needs of the youth and involving them more”.
Over at The Family Worship Upper Room Baptist Church, 180 Van Buren, teens are taking the lead and through leadership instruction, expanding their creativity. They’ve formed a theatrical group, New Praiz Youth; have a phenomenal girls quartette that rivals – and betters — Destiny’s Child of years gone; and they organize their own programs under the leadership of a poised junior deaconess. At last Sunday’s Youth Service, New Praiz performed an original production of “He’ll Do It Again” and presented a message from a young guest preacher, Jamal Brantley.
At Crossover Baptist Church, 358 Kosciuszko Street at Marcus Garvey Blvd, Rev. Garland Harrison, Sr., pastor and founder, an actual children’s church is led by a young elementary schoolteacher, Lakiesha Johnson, in the brightly lit community room. The pastor’s assistant, Lillian Hopkins, says there are about 30 children ranging in age from 3 to 13, enrolled, and the children receive light breakfast and lunch snacks. The Bible readings are designed to encourage vocabulary enrichment, discussion, presentations, arts & crafts and music. The hours are 11:30am to 1:00 pm, about the same time adult church is going on upstairs, and the children are not required to go up and sit in the service.
There aren’t too many resources for parents seeking tutorial assistance for their school-age children during the week, but there is an option for parental support on Sundays. And that’s a good thing.
Wellsprings of Faith will highlight other churches in the area that are dedicated to working with our youth throughout the year.
For information about our upcoming new Sunday School directory and other Our Time Press projects related to young people, call Lauren Cullins, Youth Central: Wellsprings of Faith, 718-559-6828. (All photos and text by Bernice Green.)