The Children’s Ministry at Southeast’s River Valley Campus

The Children’s Ministry at Southeast’s River Valley Campus holds Friday gatherings for moms and their preschool- and elementary-age children.

COVID-19 has been especially hard on moms who added teaching their children through virtual learning and non-traditional instruction to a host of other duties. 

Those moms are often on the minds of Christina Green and Jennifer Baumer, who work in Children’s Ministry at Southeast Christian Church’s River Valley Campus.

As they talked with moms, they heard about challenges of online learning, loneliness and uncertainty about when quarantine would end. They simply missed seeing friends. So did their children. Children’s Ministry staff missed seeing the kids, too. Some had been quarantined since February.

Green and Baumer spent several hours praying for God’s wisdom on how to reach beyond church walls for moms and children.

“After we prayed, we began to brainstorm how it could look to encourage moms and kids,” Baumer said. “We felt the Holy Spirit asking us to create a time of connection, relief and respite for our families. We believed it could be done in a safe, encouraging way that meets all the CDC guidelines.”

They put together a plan to gather preschool- and elementary-age children in groups under tents in the parking lot at the campus. Time together would include devotions, activities and time to share life together.

The women sent out an email inviting moms and kids to the Friday gatherings.

They were shocked when 100 signed up to attend. Green and Baumer took a deep breath, recruited a team of volunteers and arranged tents in the parking lot.

The first and third Friday of the month have become a favorite day on the calendar at River Valley. Though some schools have returned to in-person classes, moms have continued to come.

Kate McNatt comes to gatherings with her children.

“We so look forward to it,” she said. “There is a tent for each age group. Kids can bring schoolwork and there were activities such as water tables and games. Our children’s staff at River Valley is so amazing. I’ve seen friends and made new friends on these Fridays. It’s so needed for all of us staying home to care for our kids.”

On the way home from the first gathering, McNatt’s son told her the story of Adam and Eve.

“That was amazing,” McNatt said. “I’m so grateful my kids get to hear the Bible from someone other than me.”

Sign up for Family NTI/VLA Groups at www.south under River Valley Campus.