I’ve been thinking a lot lately about building community; what that looks like for myself and for my children.  I’m fortunate to have a handful of close friends and a number of acquaintances with whom I enjoy spending time.  I want my children to have a similar sense of community now and in the future.  I want them to have flourishing friendships and to know what it means to be a good friend.  As a homeschool family, it almost seems like we have to be more intentional about creating community for our children.  But this is not just a homeschool family issue.  All parents should make it priority to know who their kids’ friends are and how to teach them to be good friends.

The question is–between school, sports, and the general busyness of life, how can we, parents, make sure we’re taking the time to build a good community for ourselves and our children?  Hopefully church helps.  Sadly, not every church is the “ideal” place for building community, but I do believe that Hope Chapel is a great, safe, and encouraging place for friendships to form among adults and kids.  We also understand that life is chaotic and it’s not always easy to carve out time for fellowship.  And Sunday mornings aren’t adequate to really build relationships.  For those reasons, we try to plan extra events that are meant for connecting, serving, and having a good time with one another.  Specifically, coming up just this month we have two family events.  Tuesday, February 21st, we’ll be sledding at the Griffen Road Athletic Complex behind Houghton/Chocksett School in Sterling at 10:00 a.m.  After sledding, we’ll meet back at Hope Chapel for a soup/chili lunch with hot chocolate around 12:30.  Please bring a soup to share (can be dropped off at church first, if you wish).  Then on Saturday, February 25, come meet us at McDonald’s in Leominster (247 Mill St.) before going to see the new movie, Rock Dog, at the Leominster Cinemas.  (Times TBA, cost not covered.)  Invite your friends!  What a great way to get together and socialize over a really fun time!

And parents, don’t neglect yourselves or your relationships, either!  It can be easy to always think we need to do everything for the sake of our kids.  But it’s important for us to have good community, too.  I recently got to hear a talk about friendship by Hope Chapel’s very own Jane Rattray at a one-day mom’s retreat.  She said it was important for us to model friendship for our kids.  If our kids never see or know of us spending time with our own friends, how will they learn what friendship looks like?  My daughter often tells me that she can’t wait to be a grown-up so she can “sit with her friends and drink coffee and talk!”  Haha, I didn’t realize that would be as appealing to her as playing dolls with her friends like she does now.  But I’m glad I’m making adult friendship look so sweet to her, because it is.  These events I mentioned are a great way for us parents to connect, too.  Kids Connect also runs a Connection Playgroup once a month for moms of preschoolers and younger to all get together and connect.  Sometimes we meet at Hope Chapel, sometimes we meet at play places elsewhere.  If you or someone you know might like to be a part of that, please let me know!  And don’t forget about the parent/grandparent workshop coming up on March 25th!  (More information below.)

Finally, service is another great way to build community.  We will have some family service events coming up (probably in spring), too, so keep your eyes peeled for those!  And of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t throw in a “plug” for our great community of Kids Connect volunteers!  Plugging in and serving at church is a great way to get connected and become part of a community.  Kids Connect needs volunteers.  We currently have four spots for teachers/assistants that need to be filled during the 10:30 service, as well as needing people to help with greeting families, and leading worship with the kids.  There are so many great opportunities to be a part of this amazing children’s ministry team, influencing the lives of our Hope Chapel kids!  Will you join us?

Hope to see you at one or more of our upcoming events, or at least come say “hi” on a Sundaymorning!  I have so enjoyed my community of friends and church family at Hope Chapel, and I hope you do, too!







Hope Chapel

35 Chocksett Rd

Sterling, MA 01564