Paul wrote to his young protégé Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith. A faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure lives in you.” Like Timothy, I have a faith heritage that was passed down to me by my family and my church. Even though I took a prodigal style diversion from it, my faith heritage led me back home to the “Father” who welcomed me with grace.
At Wesley we are blessed to have so many children who are a part of our church’s life. They bring with them a blessing, but also a responsibility. It seems almost every week that we gather at the baptismal font to acknowledge a child of God entrusted by God to a family and to our church. We commit ourselves to pass faith on to that child by our teaching and example. Our hope is that one day those infants will stand again at that altar and publically profess their faith in Christ because it has been modeled for them and instilled in them by us. This Sunday a group of our students will do just that in a service of “Confirmation”. For weeks they have been considering their faith, their relationship with God, and what it means to commit themselves to Christ and to the Church. They are there because someone passed on to them a faith heritage.
We invest heavily and appropriately in our ministry to children and youth. Through Eli’s Place (our child development ministry), Sunday School, children’s choirs and ministries, youth ministries and missions, we are passing on a faith heritage. This summer in addition to Vacation Bible School and Eli’s Place Summer Camp (for infants-preschool), we are beginning a new Summer Day Camp for kindergarten through 5th graders at our Wesley Gardens Retreat Center. There will be three separate weeks of camp where our children will be nurtured in mind, body, and spirit through education, recreation, and Biblically based worship and teaching. Our youth will be challenged to take a further step of faith through mission trips to Nashville, Tennessee and Jamaica. We hope you will get your children and youth involved as we partner with families to pass on a faith heritage to a new generation and prepare them to do the same when they grow up and have children of their own. All of us who have found our way into a personal and life giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ have done so because someone taught and modeled the faith to us. I pray that one day someone will look at our grown children and say, I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that first lived in your family and in your church, and now I am sure lives in you.