Basement walls become Holy Land scenes
Deep Run Mennonite Church offers colorful, imaginative area for children.by Deep Run Mennonite Church
Deep Run Mennonite East is a congregation that welcomes children,” said a parent after attending our Preschool Sunday service. Members at Deep Run Mennonite East in Perkasie, Pa., desire to share God’s love with our own children as well as those in the community.
Karen Detweiler and Linda Kolva staff His Kids Café. Photo provided.
The church hosts Bible school, Sunday school, Boys & Girls Club, Junior Mennonite Youth Fellowship and MYF as opportunities for children.
However, members realized that many of those opportunities were carried out in a rather drab physical environment—the church basement. Sedate blue-gray walls broken up by white doors did not reflect the joy and enthusiasm of the children who gathered within those walls. However, that was about to change.
In the fall of 2009, Mae Kulp, then chairperson of Christian education, called together a small group of women to brainstorm on ways to transform the drab basement into an inviting place for our children to gather.
Sharon Leatherman, artist, brings fabric to life. Photo by Wes Conrad.
The group began with the idea of converting the rarely used basement kitchen into “His Kid’s Café,” complete with a striped awning, “stone work” on the café front and round tables. The “café” now offers a gathering place for the children to enjoy a snack with friends before Sunday school.
While the newly painted café walls brightened the area up a bit, the group was not finished. They wondered, why not bring scenes representing the Holy Land into our children’s area?
A friend of Mae Kulp and retired art teacher Mary Blough listened to the ideas and sketched them on paper. A group of 10 Deep Run members, many of them grandparents, painted walls that became the canvas for the paintings.
Kathy Moyer, Sharon Leatherman and Kirsten Rice spent countless hours painting the scenes on the walls. Junior high student Katrina Rice painted the wall outside her Sunday school classroom.
The previously uninviting children’s area began coming alive with shops and scenes from the Holy Land.
A town street with terraced homes, trees and flowers emerged first, followed by a carpenter’s shop where a whimsical mouse plays among the wood as a cat snores nearby. A small gray donkey laden with a cart of fresh vegetables makes its way to the vegetable and fruit shop.
The lifelike pomegranates, apples, lemons and bananas are displayed in the shop. Across the room in a Galilean kitchen, a loaf of brown bread bakes in a fire-burning stone oven. Beyond the shops, on the outskirts of town, a cow, sheep, donkey, rooster and doves all share a stable.
The congregation celebrated the newly painted children’s area with a prayer of dedication and a coffee time in His Kid’s Café on Feb. 26.
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