When a family enrols their child in day care, they would expect to receive information about the service. At Beenleigh Family Day Care, south-east of Brisbane, the introduction families have to the centre includes a special extra – the gift of a Bible.
This program is part of Beenleigh Family Day Care’s (FDC) ministry to the families it serves and is a joint venture with the local congregation at Bethesda Lutheran Church, which funds the outreach initiative.
…. presenting a …. Bible is a way we can plant the seeds of the gospel into the hearts of young children and their families.
This small gesture of presenting a children’s pictorial Bible is a way we can plant the seeds of the gospel into the hearts of young children and their families. The aim is to draw families to God’s word in a non-threatening way. This program is also supported by our day care governance committee, which includes members of the Bethesda congregation and Pastor Mark Hampel, whose role is as spiritual adviser.
At Beenleigh FDC our vision of ‘only the best is good enough for children’ is based on a foundation of prayerfully seeking the Lord’s support, strength and guidance in everything we do. Each day we strive to fulfil this vision in partnership with Bethesda Lutheran Church. We have been linked for more than 25 years and these ties are built on respect and a desire to work for the glory of God.
Weekly prayer and reflection is an opportunity to peel away the busyness and quietly sit at the feet of our Lord. This is a time of stillness, focus and a realisation the work we do is more than the education and care of children. It is a multi-faceted ministry.
One aspect is the development of a ‘belonging culture’ involving educators, staff, families, the church and wider community. This comprises showing compassion to those in need of love and support, such as car accident victims, those with life-threatening illnesses, victims of domestic violence and those touched by suicide and loss. All members of our community are supported in prayer, as well as in practical ways.
Pastor Mark’s role in the FDC also includes weekly attendance at our playgroup session (pictured above), at which he reads stories to children and is involved in their play. In a community that includes a large number of single-parent families, we believe a kind, gentle, father figure can often help children feel secure and safe. Pastor Mark has also established relationships with educators, parents and staff, further strengthening the links between the FDC and the church. Members of the FDC are also invited to church activities and services. The collaborative culture between the church and the FDC is the cornerstone of our ministry. This ministry provides education and care to approximately 300 children and their families each week, as we strive to provide a Christian influence and fulfil God’s work in this very special place.
Belinda Watson is Director of Beenleigh Family Day Care.
Through Queensland Lutheran Early Childhood Services, the Beenleigh FDC is a part of the Lutheran Education Australia family, which oversees and supports 56 kindergartens and early childhood services across Australia.
Contact Lutheran Education Australia:
a: 197 Archer Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
p: 08 8267 7318
This feature story comes from The Lutheran September 2016. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.