Groups from two island churches recently experienced the joy of God’s creation at the beach. The folks at New Life Community Church of God had a Saturday morning KidzBlast: Beach Edition, at Marco’s South Beach on Oct. 10. The Women’s Ministries of Marco Presbyterian Church held their second annual Brunch on the Beach under the chickees at Residence Beach the following Saturday.
Jean Ann Rowles, children and youth director of New Life Community Church of God, who came onboard at July 1 this year, was in charge of the treasure hunt, face painting, sand castle building and competitive games. Children raced beach balls across the sand using giant squirt guns, dug for buried red solders that were redeemed for a prize from the golden treasure chest, romped, ran and swam. “We are here to minister to the kids on the beach. We hope to draw the unchurched,” said Joan Rowles, Jean’s mother.
New Life Community Church of God was born on Feb. 8, 2009, when the Island’s oldest church, Marco Community Church, formerly known as the Church of God, and newest church, New Life Community Church, merged. “The church made a commitment by hiring Jean to have a youth ministry,” said Kerry Rowles, Jean’s father and church treasurer. New Life Community Church did not have proper facilities when they met at Mackle Park. “But now, with the church building and the parsonage, we have nice facilities for children and youth,” he said.
“Children have a 32 percent chance of becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ by the age of 13,” said Jean. “From the age of 14 to 19, the percentage drops to 4. At the age of 19 and above, there is a slight rise, to 6 percent. It’s vital that we do everything that we can to make sure that we help the kids in and around Marco Island become part of the 32 percent” The percentages were taken from the book “Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church’s #1 Priority,” by George Barna.
Also at the KidzBlast: Beach Edition was teen Anitrah Horrocks and her friend, Eva Lopez. Horrocks is very enthusiastic about co-teaching KidzLife Children’s Church with Jean. “Each month has a different theme,” she explained. “The theme for October is bodybuilding – building your body in Christ. We do a lot of games. We have a game, then the lesson, another game and then a craft.
We also have a memory verse.” She hopes that more teens will attend New Life and added that pastor’s Sunday morning message is very good. She is also excited the recently formed New Life youth group that meets at the parsonage from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Sunday.
Upcoming at New Life is KidzBlast: Winter Edition, a mini-vacation Bible school, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 28 to 30. Children will be asked to pack a lunch and the church will provide drinks.
The Presbyterian Church’s Brunch at the Beach was a time of food, fellowship and a message as they kicked off their Women’s Ministries. Attendees aged 2 to 72 enjoyed mini-quiches, fruit kabobs and various home-baked sweet breads. “It is so necessary for the younger women to interact with the older women,” said member Pat Lammersfeld.
After the brunch was a lesson taken from Proverbs 31. It had both a fun and a serious side to it. “What about today’s women?”
asked Linda Larson, in her opening statement. “Of what value is this ancient scripture in proverbs to the diverse life style of women today? Some people look at the ideal women in the Bible as retiring and entirely domestic. This woman is probably a composite of many capable women. Not all women have the same skills or excel at everything.”
The trio of Bonnie Seigfried, Cheryl Petrich and Linda Larson presented different interpretations of the Proverbs 31 woman. The first was the woman of the 1950s, the stereotyped housewife, occupied with dirty dishes and laundry. This was followed by a depiction of today’s grandmothers who are busy surfing the Net, replete with dance moves and audience participation.
Larson concluded with, “So, who is a virtuous woman today? Proverbs 31 tells you that it is the woman who puts God first. The ideal women of Proverbs 31 should encourage all women everywhere to be all that you can. Cultures change, but this woman’s God-inspired character still shines brightly across the centuries.”
She concluded with the last two verses of Proverbs 31, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
Jo-Ann Garvin said, “I came because I knew I would be challenged, encouraged and blessed to be the women God wants me to be.” She added, “There are no Proverbs 31 women at the age of 25. Proverbs 31 represents the accomplishments of a woman over her whole lifespan of serving God.”
The Presbyterian Women’s Ministry has a full schedule of Bible Studies, events and service opportunities. For more information go to marcochurch.com/Women’s-Ministries.
Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various nonprofits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist.