by Sammi Si-Hoe
Our children have not been to their physical CK classes since March, so what have they and their families been doing instead? We take a peek at what some of our parents and children have been doing at home. We also speak to Clarissa Soo, our Church School Superintendent, about the pleasant surprises that have arisen from such challenging times and the exciting initiatives being launched to re-invent CK as a ministry that works even in the midst of this pandemic!
When COVID-19 first hit our shores, the first group within Covenant Community Methodist Church (CCMC) to respond to the pandemic was Covenant Kids (CK), our Church School, for the youngest and vulnerable amongst us.
On 9 Feb, announcements were made that, with immediate effect, all big group worship such as Kindy Worship and Junior Worship were to be suspended. On 16 Feb, the enhanced measure of suspending pre-school classes till further notice was announced. By 22 March, in line with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines and precautionary measures, all CK classes ceased even before the circuit breaker took effect.
All CK classes ceased even before the circuit breaker took effect.
Seow Jin Kiat (father of Esme, age 7 and Noah, age 10) initially found the circuit breaker to be a period of tough adjustment having to juggle working from home and managing his children’s home-based learning from two different schools. This proved especially challenging for their family as they do not employ a home helper. After more than a month of being in the circuit breaker, this family is now in the “groove of things”, and enjoying one another and the time they have with each other in their new routines. Some things have not changed though, such as Jin Kiat and his wife, June’s general routine of having daily devotions, prayers at night and thanksgiving with their children. It is heartening to hear that these essentials have been part and parcel of what they do as a family with or without the pandemic.
Jin Kiat, June, Noah, Esme and their pet, Riley.
To Jin Kiat it is important to him and June that they pass on their faith to their children, and hopefully their children will catch the faith and put their trust in Jesus much earlier than they adults had done. To this end, both parents try to model to their children how to courageously face these trying times before them. They do so by demonstrating their trust in God in committing all their worries to God, and their children have followed suit. Indeed, this pandemic has given the opportunity for this family to exercise their faith, from which both Jin Kiat and June have seen their children mature and take responsibilities around their home. As for Esme and Noah, they cannot wait to be in the company of their friends at CK once again! As Jin Kiat says “This circuit breaker makes it very clear that relationships matter, with God and with one another”.
“This circuit breaker makes it very clear that relationships matter, with God and with one another” – Seow Jin Kiat
Like Jin Kiat, Audrey Tan is finding the circuit breaker period to be a wonderful bonding time for the family – talking, reading and learning new things together. Audrey shares that her 10-year-old daughter, Le-En, enjoys time with her 11-year-old brother, Wei-En, and herself like never before, and that they have emerged a stronger team for his school work! Also, like Jin Kiat, Audrey’s family make it a point to sit down together to read and study God’s Word on a weekly basis, and encourages her children to have a bedtime prayer to round off their days. And like, Esme and Noah, both her children miss the get-together time with their friends during and after CK!
Jonathan and Geok Fang with Zachary and Caleb.
Jonathan Heng (father of Zachary, age 4 and Caleb, age 8) and his family are also adjusting to the circuit breaker period. Jonathan gives thanks to God for keeping his family physically and mentally strong. He has found that one of his bigger challenges during this time is how to encourage his sons to keep close to God. To do this, he tells them Bible stories and sings praise songs with them. But being younger children, his sons get distracted and become impatient more easily, turning to the next thing that catches their attention. What they did enjoy doing together, however, was tuning in to the Jana Alayra’s live stream concerts at https://www.janaalayra.com which were shared with all CK volunteers in both the CK Kindy Worship and Junior Worship WhatsApp chats. Jonathan and his sons sang and did the actions to the songs together with Jana, and Jonathan found it a great experience for his family to worship together in this manner. It is, therefore, no surprise to find that what little Zachary misses most at CK is praising God through songs at Kindy Worship. How wonderful it is that these two young boys miss partaking in Holy Communion in church!
How wonderful it is that these two young boys miss partaking in Holy Communion in church!
In this pandemic, blessings and surprises spring up most unexpectedly. This is evident in what Clarissa Soo, our Church School Superintendent, shares. She marvels at how God is at work. Each time the CK team felt lost and in need of direction, God appeared. She cites the example of how He blessed them with timely emails from LifeWay Kids, the publisher of Sunday School materials used by CK, which provided weekly online Bible lessons for them to share with families in the absence of physical Sunday School classes. And, to her encouragement, she gained two new members to her CK leadership team through this pandemic! They are none other than, Audrey who will lead the Junior Worship team and Jonathan who will lead the Kindy Worship Team. God is indeed all sovereign and almighty, our Jehovah Jireh who provides at all times!
For all CK children and their families, we bring you good news: CK will be coming to you via Zoom starting next Sunday – 7th June! The CK team will contact you with details about this. You can once again see your friends, worship together, grow in God’s Word together and re-discover in new ways the wonderful blessings of relationships with God and with each other!