Here's Evan with some of his friends. All three of them were in his preschool class last year, but this year Evan has moved to the afternoon class while they have remained in the morning one, so Rally Day was his first time to see them in a while. It was a joyous reunion, as you can see.
Here's a shot of the Volunteer Fair, held in our gym. Various groups had tables with information, treats, and sign-up sheets for their activity. Anyone who signed up to serve was given a piece to a large puzzle hanging on one of the walls of the gym. The message was that our church family is like a huge puzzle which needs everyone taking part to complete the picture.
The music table:
The St. Andrew Society (acolyte) table:
The Brothers of John the Steadfast table, manned by old Johnny himself!
The puzzle in progress:
In addition to the picnic, there were outdoor activities for the whole family. Here's Caitlin helping out at the face-painting table.
The weekend started with a prayer service on Saturday morning, followed by an "E-fast" in which members were encouraged to unplug from all their electronic devices for the day and spend time with family while plugging into God's word. The E-fast continued through to Sunday morning. I have to say that in some ways I think the E-fast is a much more focusing experience than a food fast would be. I only eat three times a day, but I check email, talk on the phone, surf the net, listen to the radio, and watch television off and on all day long! And unlike the unplugged vacation my family experienced this summer at a remote Nebraska camp, during the E-fast all my toys were still within my reach, staring me in the face, calling out to be used! It is amazing how dependent our society has become on them and how much time they have the capacity to suck out of our daily lives. I caught myself several times during the day heading for the computer, TV or radio by force of habit before remembering the fast and stopping myself. (For more detailed information on our E-fast along with suggestions for how a congregation might carry out its own E-fast, click here.)
Our congregation has gone through some struggles over the past 5-10 years. Satan has been hard at work, trying to divide and conquer. But I think this Rally Day was an encouraging sign of how far we have come and how much we have grown as a church family. And I think it's going to be a great year for growing even more in the Word and under the Cross, as we strengthen our vertical relationship with Him as well as our horizontal relationships with each other.