Thetford Vineyard Church –we are a small church plant which began in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. Growkids was born from a time where we saw great need in our community, and great desire to serve from the church family. We were funded throughout by local council grants.
In Dec 2021, we decided that we wanted to put on an even that reflected that we want to promote the value of the family unit as being something really special and precious. We discovered that one of our volunteers had a husband who was a very good amateur photographer, so we decided to set up a Santa's Grotto with a photo studio attached and invited anyone who had used Growkids that year to book-in.
Families came in, sat in a beautiful set, had their photos taken, and then spent time with 'Santa' who gave them a wrapped selection box. The families LOVED it, and were so touched when we dropped round a print of the best photo in a frame before Christmas.
The key to this event was this - the number of people who found a way to participate. A neighbour's mum, who is 80 years old and finds it hard to walk, wrapped 76 selection boxes. A local charity funded them. A volunteer who was a graphic designed by trade created named certificates for every child. The church community set up and set down the event and hung out in the cafe chatting and welcoming families. The community centre cafe staff fed and watered the volunteers. Another neighbour dressed up as Santa. The kids from the church community were the elves and had a great time mucking around in costumes.
This was a kingdom of God moment, where the church was merely the facilitator in a move of joy and generosity in the town that was stunning to witness.