First Free Rockford is proudly participating in the Angel Tree program again this year, delivering gifts and the message of God’s love to children in the Rockford area whose parents are in prison during the holiday season.
Our church has participated in this program for more than 25 years in partnership with Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit Christian organization whose mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. There are more than 2.7 million U.S. children who have a mom or dad in prison, according to the organization, and churches and community organizations throughout the country have already committed to serving more than 275,000 kids this year.
Angel Tree Coordinator Susan Schumacher, a Belvidere resident who’s been attending First Free for nearly 30 years, found a personal connection in this project. She had a loved one in prison and saw the devastating effects an experience like that can have on families.
“We do this out of compassion for the children,” she said. “The program gives us an opportunity to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.”
You can help by picking a tag off the Angel Tree in our lobby. This year, we have 17 families with 45 children we’re helping. Each child will receive two gifts – an article of clothing and a toy or other fun gift, as well as an age-appropriate booklet about the gospel provided by Prison Fellowship. The families give us suggestions to help personalize the gifts even more.
Grab a tag, shop for gifts, wrap them and turn them in by Dec. 11. We’ll package the gifts on Dec. 12 and deliver them to families on Dec. 15. Let us know if you’d like to volunteer in any way. It’s a beautiful tradition we are excited to participate in again this year!
Christmas is coming! And, on Christmas Eve – Sunday, December 24th – we are so excited that we get to worship together as a Church Family! Please join us at 8:30 a.m. as we all worship together and are led by a combined Contemporary and Classic Worship Team. We will be celebrating the 4th Sunday of Advent and lighting the Angels’ Candle as we continue in our series “Do Not Be Afraid.”
Last Year’s Christmas Service
Candles and Carols Christmas Eve
Then, we will gather again at 4:00 p.m. for our “Candles and Carols Service” as we celebrate the birth of our Savior! We will light the Christ Candle and sing some of our favorite Christmas Carols.
Bring your family and worship with us on Christmas Eve!
After last year’s great success, First Free Rockford is again hosting the Christmas Traditions event design to help families make memories at Christmas. We’ve designed every aspect of the event to help you create new traditions and memories with your family, while weaving in the Christmas story in a way that is both impactful and entertaining! The Christmas Traditions event is happening December 16th, and to experience every detail of the event you’re just going to have to be here, but here are the highlights.
Reindeer petting zoo
Indoor snowball fights with over two thousand snow balls
LIVE nativity with real animals, like camels, sheep and donkeys
A Puppet show every hour
Chick-fil-a will be on site for anyone interested in purchasing dinner
FREE PICTURE WITH SANTA!
No more waiting at the mall to drop $20 per child on a photo. Instead they can come to First Free Rockford, get their professional Santa pictures for free and hear the true story of Christmas told in a fun exciting way. You, your children, and your grandchildren, are not going to want to miss this. The Christmas Traditions event is happening December 16th, from 4 to 8pm so tell your friends, and we’ll see you there!
Pictures from last year’s Christmas Traditions Event
Last night in our High School Ministry, Element, we looked at the Christmas story in Luke 2. We focused on how God has come to us in order to save us. He came to GIVE to us life…a gift we did not deserve. So I challenged the students to do 2 things as a result of this Christmas story. The first was to use every opportunity to share what Christmas is actually about: God coming to save us. Christmas is not just about a baby in a manger, but also about the cross. So we have a great opportunity to spread the good news of Jesus this season.
The second thing I challenged our students to do is to give. Just like how Jesus gave to us, we are called to give to others. We have decided that next Wednesday, the 9th, we will be raising money through Compassion International. For just $180, we can provide food for a baby and mother for 1 whole year. For just another $134, we can provide a water well for 4 families. So we have set a goal of $314. This is roughly just $5 a student. And we believe that we can give above and beyond.
I am excited to see our students GIVE. They are excited to give, not for the attention, but because they are excited to follow Jesus in his example. So please pray for our students but also if you are a parent of one of these students, remind them of why we are giving.
December 3, 2015 / Comments Off on Element: Giving