Hope Sunday Feature Church: Bethany Covenant

1 Comment » Written on February 8th, 2013     
Filed under: Featured Churches, Hope Sunday, News & Updates
The following is an example of how Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, New Hampshire presented their Hope Sunday event. We hope it will inspire your church as you consider hosting a Hope event. More feature church stories are coming so keep checking back here. If your church has a story to share, email us at covenantkidscongo@covchurch.org.

Written by Courtney Crowder, World Vision child ambassador

Bethany’s table set-up with child packets.

Armed with a giant inflatable globe and sobering statistics of extreme poverty and soaring child mortality, Bethany Covenant Church, hosted a Hope Sunday for Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision. The event, on October 14, 2012, was the culmination of more than a year of preparation and prayer in which God moved in powerful ways.

Child sponsorship through World Vision was not new to our family. My husband, Hall, and I have been sponsoring a boy who is the same age as our only son for the past eight years. But our focus sharpened three years ago when our oldest daughter participated in a youth group event called World Vision 30 Hour Famine, in which children fast to help them understand the meaning of hunger. In the process, our younger daughters became interested in helping other children their own ages in a country they may never visit. We added another child to sponsor. Our goal was to create more awareness for our children to get them involved in giving and investing in another person’s life through letters and pictures. I became a Child Ambassador volunteer for World Vision to promote child sponsorship as a tangible way to help fight the cycle of poverty in underdeveloped nations around the world through monthly financial support, letter writing, and prayer.

Courtney, on the left, and her daughter Abigail on Hope Sunday.

Last year, our oldest daughter, Abigail, chose to host a Hope Sunday as her final project. It was at that point the Evangelical Covenant Church unveiled their new partnership with World Vision. Her Hope Sunday project in the spring of 2012 helped prime the pump. She did not ask for sponsors then but instead spoke about our own family’s journey and experience with sponsorship and the importance of reaching out and helping others.

By the time our second Hope Sunday came in October, our church was ready. Joel Kruggel, senior pastor, and JT Shupe, associate pastor, were instrumental in the success of the event through their support and promotion in announcements and sermons. In addition, Stu and Celeste Sherman of the World Vision Ambassador Leadership team for the East Coast region came to answer questions and lend support. I had hoped to get sponsors for 25 children that day, but I wasn’t too confident. I wondered if the economy or a potential building campaign would be inhibiting factors. I spoke at both services and incorporated my family’s story, a World Vision video, and a children’s sermon using that big inflatable globe. As people filed out of the church the excitement was undeniable. Forty-seven children were sponsored on the spot. My family added a third child to sponsor. In addition the youth group held a fundraising event to cover sponsorships for four children for a year with the plan to continue its giving and fundraising efforts. To date 57 children have been sponsored at Bethany.

Church members signing up to sponsor a child.

We are not done yet. Our group of sponsors will get together to pray, share letters from our sponsored children, sample bits of Congolese culture, and continue to learn how sponsorship through Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision helps to transform a community out of extreme poverty. Our group of children come from the same Congo community. It is a way for our community to help another on the other side of the world and to join with other Covenant churches to affect change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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One Response to “Hope Sunday Feature Church: Bethany Covenant”

wonderful  that you inspired sooo many people courtney.  great mission to work with.

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