As part of our outreach to the community, we are intentional in our efforts to be good neighbors to Woerner Elementary School. We host events for their students and families and try to be a blessing to them throughout the school year. We want to be a people that serve God in the location that He has put us in. We learn how to do that daily in our own lives and we do it on a corporate scale through our relationship to Woerner.
Our History with Woerner Elementary
Principal Peggy Meyer told us that one of the great needs of the school’s families were social engagements that encouraged them to build a support network for each other. So, we tried some things, and the Holy Spirit has been refining our efforts, specifically in two ways:
(1) Annual Ice Cream Social,
(2) English as a Second Language Class
Epiphany had been doing Ice Cream socials for years as fundraisers. In 2014 we had about 30 people show up (about 5-10 from the neighborhood). In 2015, we took a year off. Then, in 2016, we decided to try it as a welcome back-to-school-social with the new kindergartner families at Woerner as our special guests.
Having built trust with the principal and other school administrators, they let us extend to the invite to all their new kindergarten students, with tickets included to pass out to their family members.
We had about 60 people from Woerner attend that August. We also put out an announcement to the community. We said we wanted to partner with all willing neighbors to channel community service through Woerner school.
Our alderwoman came to serve ice cream, along with others from the community, plus about 50 volunteers from our own congregation, around a 150 in all. In August of 2017 we had over 200.
We also started a weekly ESL class designed for some of the 140 families at Woerner who speak English as their second language. Again, we put out the notice to the community: “We want to partner with all willing neighbors to channel community service to and through our local public school.”
One day Woerner’s Principal, Mrs. Meyer, emailed us: “We need space for our ballet class on Wednesdays. Can you help us?”
So, 80 little ballerinas started coming to practice their plie’s and Rond de Jambe’s in our upstairs parlor room. We provided snacks and warm smiles.
Then it was a time for their end-of-year recital, normally held in the school gym. We had a nice stage in our fellowship hall, which hadn’t been used for much besides storage in about 40 years. We cleaned it up and invited all the parents from the school.
We were blessed to share this space in the name of Jesus.
At the end of the recital, the girls presented us with a giant, yellow, hand-written thank you card:
When one of the girls read it aloud, she made a memorable mistake that still warms our hearts. She read, “Thank you for letting our class come to our church for ballet …”
We trust that God is working in these relationships for His glory and the good of our community. Whatever happens, we know that faith needs a place to run.