Sunday School Class Inspired by Presbyterian Giving Catalog Choices

March 24, 2020 by Scott O'Neill

Covenant Presbyterian Church Sunday school teacher Laura Baake teaches a special group of kids each week in her hometown of Lubbock, Texas. Her elementary school-age class has raised money for the Presbyterian Giving Catalog the past two years, and the children make all the decisions on where they want to donate the money they raise. You might not think a group of elementary school students would be very thoughtful about which projects to support, but you would be wrong.

“We studied the Catalog and listed the projects we felt were the most helpful to others,” said Baake. “We also liked that we had the option to give to a variety of projects beyond buying animals. We prayed for the fishermen and the students whom we wished to help, made a list to prioritize our giving, then made plans for the bake sale which funded our Catalog gift.”

The children took the lead in the fundraising effort, starting with making posters to promote the bake sale to church members and making announcements during the service about what they hoped to accomplish.

“Our class focuses on study, fun, service and community,” said Baake. “This year we decided on the student kit (supplies for displaced students) and prayed for children in a refugee camp. They wanted to help one child continue to study and we were able to meet all our goals.

New this year, the children also sent in paper chain links as part of the Links of Love special Giving Challenge. Links of Love recognizes the power and impact of individual gifts when joined with others by creating a paper chain that visually represents Presbyterian generosity. For each gift to the catalog, congregations are encouraged to add a link and construct a paper chain. Individual paper chains will be collected, combined and displayed at the 224th General Assembly (2020) in Baltimore. The deadline for submitting paper chains to the Giving Catalog is May 15.

“These young church leaders have taken this colorful, visual display to a whole new level. Each gift was given with paper ‘links’ personalized and decorated by the class,” said Bryce Wiebe, director, Presbyterian Giving Catalog. “This will only enhance the truth in the symbol: that each of us provides something important as unique individuals, and together we create something stronger than any of us alone. I’d encourage this kind of creative engagement from church leaders of every age group, as we celebrate the many ways God’s gifts to us can make a big impact.”

Congregations can use their own creativity to make the Links of Love activity fit their needs, but the Giving Catalog does provide resources and ideas for anyone needing assistance. All the materials to get started on a Links of Love project can be ordered at no charge from the PC(USA) store.

Baake feels blessed to be a part of her congregation’s youth efforts. “Covenant Kids are a lively energetic group of young people who are creative and caring. I love being their teacher and I learn about forgiveness, patience, and love each week.”

Visit the Links of Love web page for more information.

This was originally published for Presbyterian News Service on March 11, 2020.

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