Content by Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd. Photo: Alandra Harrelson & Brenda Stover with Lyric and Emma Harrelson. Photo by Pastor Marty Toepke-Floyd.
Brenda Stover, member of Redfield UMC and first time lay delegate to annual conference, saw a video about Beresford Zion UMC (click here to watch Kids are the Kingdom at Kids Crossing), a church in action with children’s ministries. Stover is a teacher and administrator in the local school system and has been aware of the need for after school care in her town.
At a group meeting for long-range and new ways to do ministry, Stover shared her vision for re-purposing some rooms in the church and starting a free after-school care program. The response from others was favorable and so the group did some brainstorming about the details.
The group took the idea to the Redfield UMC church council for input and approval. With permission granted, it was time to figure out more details. Next, the team contacted staff from Beresford UMC for more ideas, and then advertised for a coordinator in the local newspaper and with fliers around town.
“We supported our efforts with prayer during worship and informed the congregation with our weekly church newsletter,” said Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd, Redfield UMC. “We interviewed and hired a coordinator after doing background checks of the applicants. We also started taking applications from volunteers in the church and the community. We held mandatory Safe Sanctuary training, too. The number of children the after-school program can take is limited to two dozen a day, and we let parents know about registration for it through the newspaper and at school. We had to develop a registration form and covenant of conduct for the children and parents to complete.”
The major expense of the after-school program is the salary for the coordinator. Funds for the salary are being paid by the church through the mission endowment fund, other donations and a fundraising meal – a pork loin supper – on August 13, which raised $1600.
Redfield UMC also applied for and received a “Breakthrough Ministry—School Partnership Grant” for $1500 for materials, snacks, furniture, supplies and extra liability insurance. The grant was awarded by a partnership of the Dakotas Conference Missional Impact Link and the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation.
Alandra (Van Vleet) Harrelson heads the new After School at Redfield United Methodist Church. The program is for children from kindergarten to sixth grade every weekday during the school year. This free service to families in the community has been the dream of church member Brenda Stover for several years. “It’s so exciting to see this new ministry become a reality,” says Stover, who is also a teacher at Redfield Public Schools. Church members Daryl and Tracy Schutte also prepared space and painted the rooms in the church for the after-school program. File photo: Kids at Beresford UMC after-school program.
Harrelson plans to offer snacks, crafts, games, and other fun activities for the children. She has prepared two adjacent rooms with a connecting door in the church for the program. “Children may also read story books, color, paint and do homework if they wish,” says Ms. Harrelson, who is the daughter of Gary and the late Linda Van Vleet.
The program began on Monday, September 11th, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. Volunteers from the church and community are assisting Harrelson, and there is space for up to two dozen children each day.
Other Breakthrough Ministry—Church school partnership grants that were awarded in August 2017 include:
Bismarck McCabe—Connections: Jesus, the Neighborhood and McCabe a ministry to connect children and family living close to McCabe to a church.
Burke / Herrick—A contemporary worship services to reach the unchurch in your community.
Clear Lake—Stewards Against Childhood Hunger (SACH), weekend meal program for school children.
Milnor—God at the movies night, an outreach to the community.
Rapid City South Maple—Waffle worship, a meal and worship service to reach those that are unchurched.
Watertown First—Launching a service to reach those that are not connected to a church called “Messy Church”.
Breakthrough ministry grants are offered to churches and related organizations from the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation and Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Grants will be awarded quarterly. The 2017 Kids Count Miracle Offering was collected in Bismarck in June to help fund Breakthrough ministry grants that focus on church and school partnerships. Grants are awarded quarterly. Applications are due on January 31, April 30, July 31 and October 31.
Click here for a grant application.