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In Grace’s bedroom in New York, her mother has placed several Bible verses on display.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” says one, a passage from Matthew.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession,” reads another, from Deuteronomy.

These are important messages for any child to hear, but they have special meaning for Grace, who has autism and is nonverbal, and her mother, Janet Paduano Cardillo.

Nearly 3,000 youth and adults from across the RCA and CRC came together at this youth conference in July to worship, learn, serve, grow spiritually, and build new relationships. These social media updates tell the story best.

A specialized one-to-one caring program has brought new ministry opportunities in two Reformed Church congregations in New Jersey.

The national, faith-based Stephen Ministries (www.stephenministries.org) trains key church leaders who then train fellow church members to provide a listening ear and a comforting presence to people who are hurting.

“It’s been a remarkable ministry,” says Hillsborough Reformed Church pastor Fred Mueller. “Between our trained Stephen leaders, Stephen ministers, and those receiving care, we’ve involved a quarter of our congregation,” he says of the church where 120 people gather for weekly worship.

When members of local faith communities reached out to offer assistance, a prison inmate discovered he was harboring stereotypes of his own.

After attending SpringHill Day camp this past summer, more than 100 children made decisions to follow Christ. Many of their families now come to worship at the church that sponsored the camp—the Beecher, Illinois, campus of Faith Church (RCA) in Dyer, Indiana.

The camp has allowed Faith Beecher to build a bridge to the community, especially the junior high school next door.

When it comes to communication, the metaphorical gap between teenagers and their parents can sometimes seem as wide as the Grand Canyon. Teens are growing up in a world that bears only slight resemblance to the one their parents knew, making it sometimes difficult for the two generations to relate. But California pastor Jesse Winkler is part of a pastors group working to bridge this gap in his community.

Since 2011, the RCA and CRCNA have been collaborating in Kingdom Enterprise Zones. The two denominations have begun to see how we can be better together, and KEZs have sprung up all across the U.S. and Canada. It’s so encouraging and energizing for me as a young leader to be a part of the Southeast Nebraska KEZ and see this level of collaboration.


 

The work of a “Green Team” has allowed Community Reformed Church of Manhasset, New York, to build new connections with others in their community—and that speaks to the church’s overall mission.

 

“That was the best worship service I’ve ever been to,” my 10-year-old daughter told me on the way home from church on September 14. I asked her why. “There was something for me to do through the whole service,” she replied.

That day we had held an intergenerational “Back to School Blessing” brunch and worship service at our church, Altamont Reformed Church in Altamont, New York. It was a special service that my family and I will never forget.

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