When Ridglea Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, chose to use the “Journey to Congo” VBS curriculum available from Global Ministries, little did they know that it was the beginning of a months-long emphasis on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). What started out as one week of Vacation Bible School has turned into more than five months of education and interest in the issues related to the DRC.
Here are some of the ways they have continued to educate themselves and their community about brothers and sisters in the DRC:
- Organized a 5K and 1K Fun Run called “Amazing Feets” as a part of the VBS Closing Ceremonies. The run was open to the community and drew around 65 participants with the proceeds benefitting Global Ministries’ partnerships in the Congo.
- David Owen, Global Ministries staff person and former missionary, spoke to an adult study group about issues in Congo and Global Ministries partnerships there. The church also offered a Bible Study viewing the Global Ministries Congo Symposium DVD and discussing the issues it raised and offered the Prejudice, Power, and Reconciliation Bible study available on the Global Ministries website. Women’s Ministry groups are studying the Congo as part of their New Day study.
- Watched and discussed movies related to the conflict in Congo including “The Greatest Silence” by Lisa Jackson and Amnesty International’s “Arms, Dealing and National Interests.”
- Included a Sunday School presentation by “Invisible Children” and a young adult from Uganda spoke during worship on World Communion Sunday. “Invisible Children” works in the DRC including helping to rehabilitate child soldiers in Uganda and the DRC and advocating public policy back in the U.S.
- Coordinated a presentation by “Falling Whistles” in conjunction with the Brite Divinity School Student Association, Texas Christian University’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and a TCU student group. The event focused on the work being done to rehabilitate child soldiers in the Congo.
- Encouraged and participated in the “Cell Out” Campaign on October 20th and hosted an event for the Friends of Congo “Breaking The Silence” campaign.
- Advocated for government support of the International Violence against Women Act and other critical Congo issues.
- Members of the church have made presentations at the community-wide Church Women United and to an undergraduate religion major organization at TCU.
- In 2011, Ridglea Christian Church plans to further their understanding about critical presence in the world and will offer a study on immigration and will send some members to the Global Ministries’ Border Conference in February.
And to think it all began with a VBS curriculum from Global Ministries. In recent years, some have said that the church is dying. After witnessing the response to the issues in the Congo, one would have to say that the church is not dying . . . it is simply dying to know. Ridglea Christian Church offers a world of thanks to Global Ministries for enabling and encouraging them to get to know our neighbors all over this world.