December 19, 2011
Part of Covenant’s vision is to IMPACT God’s kingdom. Here is how a few Covenant Groups were able to impact families in need this Christmas. Michelle Culley coordinated the Angel Tree program, which is a ministry that gives gifts to children with a parent in prison. In the past, CPC has taken the traditional approach where members individually deliver gifts to homes. This year, Michelle decided to try a different approach; her ladies’ discipleship group invited recipient families to the church for a Christmas party and meal as well as fun activities and a family photo opportunity. This allowed the families to see our church and get a taste of the ministries we offer, and by holding the party following our church service, it encouraged the families to try out CPC. The party option opened up multiple opportunities for several small groups to join together for a unified “kingdom task,” said Michelle. Thirteen families attended with thirty children.
Jonathan Culley’s men's discipleship group volunteered to set up tables, chairs, and other prep. Michelle's group organized all the food and mingled among the guests during lunch. As the families were coming in to the Fellowship Hall, they were greeted by a family photo booth set up in the foyer for family pictures in front of the Christmas tree. Once everybody got settled in, Jonathan opened with a welcome and prayer. Pizza was served to the kids and pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches to the adults. As everybody was eating and socializing, other CPC volunteers joined in by mingling with the guests. Rachel Van Buren served as the emcee for the event. Following dinner, kids participated in various activities: decorating sugar cookies with Christmas-colored sprinkles, bean-bag toss for prizes, etc. Leftover food was put into containers for the guests to take home. As they left, they came up to the gift table to receive their children's Christmas gifts. These families seemed genuinely appreciative. One of the mothers in attendance later sent this e-mail:
"Hi, just wanted to say thank you again.
My daughter was very excited about her gift and with it saying ‘from Daddy’ was the best. She was telling the family that ‘daddy knew just what I wanted.’ Also, for myself, that shredded chicken was very good. Happy Holidays to all."
For the remaining thirteen, volunteers delivered the remaining gifts to their homes. “It’s a good way to put hands and feet to the Gospel,” Michelle explained. “Since these children are growing up with a parent in prison, this ministry also acts as the “hands and feet” of the incarcerated parent by giving gifts to the children on their behalf. It seeks to reconcile families through the power of gifts and by pointing them to the true gift, Jesus Christ.”