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.
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.
Do 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.”
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.
May 8, 2019 / Comments Off on Parent / Child Dedications
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.
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.
July 1, 2018 / Comments Off on Summerama Family Experience