All posts in “Kids”

Raise Up Parenting Conference 2019_

Raise Up Parenting Conference 2020

Parenting is a challenging, delightful, heart-wrenching journey that can feel overwhelming and even lonely. To come alongside you, First Free Rockford is hosting a parenting conference, Raise Up, featuring writers and speakers Sissy Goff and David Thomas from the Raising Boys and Girls ministry.

FROM OUR BLOG
» Interview with David Thomas, conference speaker
» Story on the Johnson family, past attendees

WHEN: Feb. 21-22, 2020
Friday, 6:30–9:15 p.m. (check-in 6–6:30 p.m.)
Saturday, 9–11:15 a.m.

WHERE: First Free Rockford – 2223 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL
(southeast corner of Mulford and Spring Creek roads)

CHILDCARE: All ages through grade 5 (check-in 6 p.m. Fri.; 8:30 a.m. Sat.)

REGISTRATION: $30 couple; $15 individual
Registration deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 18.

 

REGISTRATION CLOSED

 

Questions? Contact Adult Ministries by calling 815-877-7046 or emailing adultministries [AT] firstfreerockford [DOT] org.

Learn more about the speakers at raisingboysandgirls.com.

Not your parents’ parenting conference

by Jim Killam | 4-minute read

 

Like any parents, Chris and Tona Johnson can be baffled by something one of their three boys did. And, like any parents, their first response might be: “Why did you do that? What were you thinking?”

A big insight for them came during a parenting conference by the organization Raising Boys & Girls. When kids do something crazy, they probably aren’t thinking. Their brains can’t yet make the connections that their parents’ brains can. Just understanding that, and knowing a different approach or two, has made a difference for Chris and Tona as parents.

A few years ago, Tona was one of several women from First Free who attended a conference in Franklin, Tenn. A breakout session on parenting by authors David Thomas and Sissy Goff caught their attention.

“We were like, wow, that’s life-changing,” Tona says. “I didn’t know any of that. How come no one’s told me all of that stuff?”

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Christmas Traditions 2019

Christmas Traditions: Pray, serve, give

A conversation with Pastor Luke Uran

First Free’s annual Christmas Traditions event runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. We’ll have a petting zoo, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating, an indoor snowball fight, a stage show, carolers, a kids’ story time and more. Each activity is designed to help families create new traditions and memories while weaving the Christmas story into it all.

We spoke with Lead Pastor Luke Uran about the event, its purpose and the opportunities it presents.

 

Headshot of Lead Pastor Luke UranDo you remember how Christmas Traditions evolved into what it is now?

About three years before we started doing the event, a bunch of us were talking about what would it look like to do an outreach event well. We came up with this idea of a Christmas-themed event with different activities that could be taking place, kind of an all-hands-on-deck thing. I remember us saying, “Let’s make an event that is easy for families. So they can take part in Christmas traditions that their family already does, but let’s just make it easy for them.”

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Parent Child Dedication

Parent / Child Dedications

Parent / Child Dedications take place in our Sunday morning services at either 8:30am or 10:30am depending on which hour you sign up for.  Check out our First Free Kids page for more information and to register.

Mom’s Day Out a longtime resource for Rockford-area families

Mom’s Day Out — a special ministry for children and families at First Free Rockford — celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

The ministry started as a pilot program in 1989, created as a part-time, Christ-centered child care resource for parents. Three decades ago, moms mostly did the sign-up, but today, fathers and even grandparents are involved in the program, too.

“We’re seeing second generations coming through now,” said Patti Clauson, Mom’s Day Out Director.

Patti has been here since the beginning. She said a First Free member first saw a similar program in the south back in the 1980s and brought the idea back to Rockford.

Mom’s Day Out classroom at First Free Rockford – Rockford, Illinois

Families today can enroll their children starting at 1-year through pre-kindergarten age from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and/or Fridays.

Mom’s Day Out is open to anyone in the community – not just church members. Patti said the program draws people from all backgrounds, including families from outside the U.S. who have relocated to Rockford to work in such industries as aerospace, manufacturing and health care.

Patti Clauson, Director of Mom’s Day Out

“What’s so cool is we’ll have moms who don’t know anyone in town, so they seek out a church that will be a safe place. After a few years, they’ve got play groups, the kids are enrolled in summer day camp,” Patti said. “Our goal is to bridge families from not knowing anyone to finding a home and an extended family here.”

About 120 children attend Mom’s Day Out each day. Bible-based learning aims to teach kids about good values such as sharing, helping each other, comforting a friend and much more. A typical day may include songs, counting, learning days of the week, crafts, a Bible story, and playing in the gym or on the playground.

Crucial to the program’s success has been the ongoing help of church staff and members who volunteer their time to help with activities. Mom’s Day Out also employs more than 20 teachers, meaning it’s a good opportunity for educators looking for an alternative to full-time work.

That’s how Patti got started, in fact. She was a teacher looking for care for her young daughter at the time. She started teaching, then became assistant director and then director.

“It was all God’s planning,” she said. “This is where I was meant to be.”

Mom’s Day Out runs a similar schedule to the school year calendar, starting the week after Labor Day and ending the week before Memorial Day. Registration for the next session starts in May. Visit momsdayout.net for more information, or call 815-877-7046.

Summerama Family Experience (food, carnival games, face painting, prizes)

Summerama Family Experience

First Free Rockford is hosting Summerama Family Experience, a free event for all families on Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature free food like hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones; inflatables; carnival games; giveaways and prizes. All families are welcome!

“We encourage everyone to invite their friends to experience all the Summerama fun at First Free Rockford,” said Luke Uran, Lead Teaching Pastor at First Free Rockford. “Kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy this fun event right here on the First Free Rockford campus.”

In addition to Summerama Family Experience, First Free Rockford hosts a number of community events throughout the year, including its Christmas Traditions, Patriotic Celebration, and reSTART Rockford concert and more. To learn more about First Free Rockford, visit: www.firstfreerockford.org.

Notice: The main office is closed and all public gatherings are suspended until further notice.More Details