The children's sermon each Sunday is popular with kids and adults too. The Rev. Jeff Gargano gets creative in capturing children's attention, often using costumes, props and humor to bring a Bible lesson to life. Says the pastor, "I've been doing it for 30 years. It engages kids and establishes the theme for the worship service in a way that connects with children." It's working, as the number of children who head to the altar to listen attest--up from almost none just eight years ago, when Rev. Gargano arrived. "We've attracted young families," says Rev. Gargano, some through the church's connection with New Beginnings Nursery School, and others through the planning and outreach done by Moira, Katie and other mothers. Children come to worship with their family, then depart for Sunday School after their sermon. Above are some of our favorite chlidren's sermons, captured in images.
One of the duties of the Sunday School children is to ring the bell to announce the start of the Sunday worship service. In the photo at far left, several pitch in to get the job done. In the fellowship hour after Sunday School, there's a sweet treat--cake--and a cozy place to enjoy it.
After a church service last summer in Haiti, the RCT Mission Team met a family. They distributed food and toys, played with the children, sang and prayed together. But they felt it wasn't enough. The team--teens from RCT led by Pastor Jeffrey Gargano--asked what it would take to replace the family's home of sticks, barely held together by mud and rags. About $4,000, they were told. Says Pastor Gargano, "Our plan then was to return to Haiti with the money--and elbow grease--during the school winter break. Unfortunately, after a brief outbreak of anti-American demonstrations, we felt that for the time being it would be best just to forward the money and employ some local builders and laborers." Above is the result. The picture on the left is what the team saw last August. The picture on the right is of the family at the front door of their new, solid, secure and dry home.
Preteens Carly, Temper, Donovan, Zach and Oliver are looking ahead to summer, when these two Adirondack chairs, which they painted in colorful designs, will offer a place in Tarrytown parks to rest and enjoy the outdoors. Thanks go to Chris Blatt, Neighborhood House art director, who invited our parish preteens to join in their community project. See more photos on the Sunday School & Nursery page.
Communion is held during worship on the first Sunday of each month, and the children are invited.
Above, Pastor Jeff and elder Aubrey Hawes conduct the Sacrament on March 5.
The Sunday School children have collected $180 so far in offerings since the school year began. Last October, they selected four charities to receive the total offerings next June. They thought locally and globally, and about all of God's creation. Here are their choices:
Paws Crossed: an animal rescue organization in Elmsford, N.Y.
Sparrows Nest: A Hudson Valley organization that provides two meals, once a week, to the families of caregivers diagnosed with cancer.
Heifer International: An organization that provides livestock and techniques in husbandry to families around the world.
Community Food Pantry: Based at Christ Church, the Community Food Pantry distributes bags of food to nearly 200 local families.
The Giving Giraffe (pictured) helps the children mark their progress by "earning its spots"--the children add new spots at the beginning of each month. The goal: $700 by June.
Several Sunday School children, teens and parents traveled by train to the city on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to enjoy a dim sum meal together at Jin Fong restaurant, followed by ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
Our teen mission team appeared before the congregation of the Old Dutch Church on Sunday, July 31, led by Juliette Phillips and Jack Steuer, who presented a slide show and talked about their week in Haiti in July. Nine teens traveled to that poverty-stricken country to help repair the homes of poor Haitian families living in a small village. The teens challenged the congregation to raise $4,000 to build a new home for a needy Haitian family. The host ministry, Helping Hands for Haiti, was supported by many Reformed, Christian Reformed and Lutheran churches in the Midwest. Pictured in the group photo (left to right):Matt Bischof, Owen Steele, Nathan Gargano, Tesher Zafrin, Juliette Phillips, Hunter Burnett, Katie Miles, and Jack Steuer in front. Kevon Lewis is not pictured. Above left: Jack and Juliette before the congregation; above right: Juliette Phillips.
Read about and see photos of their week in Haiti.
On April 17, the Middle School students (Temper, Oliver, John, Carly, Zachary, and Helen), their mentors (Sara Elder, Sue Nagle, Joann Nisco, John Phillips, John Chow, Lauren McBride), elders (Clifton Steurer, Keith Elder, Renee Chillemi, Aubrey Hawes) and Pastor Jeff, Pastor Mashona and Sunday School teacher Moira Gargano attended a luncheon to mark the end of the "I Believe" program section of Sunday School. Sunday School's regular curriculum resumed April 24. The students were given copies of the Heidelberg Catechism.
The Sunday School is rehearsing "He is Lord" to be sung May 22 in the worship service. Above, Jeremy Goldsmith, RCT music director, demonstrates a move. Second from left is Moira Gargano; fifth from left is Sara Elder, Sunday School teachers.
Children dig into birthday cake on a recent Sunday during fellowship hour in the Friendship Room.
Teenagers were invited to tour the Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn on President's Day. Two teens, Nathan and Scottie, accepted the offer, joining Ms. Moira and Mr. Rob on a tour that included the OEM's citywide emergency operation center and its media command station for issuing emergency alerts. The group also had a look at interim disaster housing models for stationing in neighborhoods where people may have had to evacuate their homes. "We were a small group, and as always, our church program always finds a way to eat," said Moira, afterward they had pizza and ice cream in one of New York's most popular pizza places, Grimaldi's. Pictured: at the Brooklyn Bridge.
Fun was had by all who took part in an evening of snowtubing at Thunder Ridge in Vernon, NJ, on Feb. 19. Six teenagers took part - Nicholas, Nathan, Scotty, Clara, Matty and Diego. Youth Pastor Mashona and Mr. Rob accompanied them. Afterward the group had dinner at a local Burger King.
Church teens Kevon Lewis and Nathan Gargano worked up a sweat on a recent mild Saturday in early January, moving furniture from the Neighborhood House to the curb for pickup. Thanks, guys! We're proud of our volunteers, who give many hours doing good works in our community.
Church youth volunteers assisted with the Soup Soiree sponsored by It Takes A Village 10591, held September 20 at Kingsland Point Park pavilion in Sleepy Hollow. Guests learned how ITAV, a community-organized group, helps seniors remain in their homes and live independently. Music was provided by "Heartfelt" quartet, and food and beverages were served. "Thanks to all the young, and young-at-heart, volunteers collaborating to make the Soup Soiree such a great success for It Takes A Village 10591," said Robert Wingate (pictured below right, wearing a lei), church youth co-leader. ITAV 10591 meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. at the Clock Church.