April 7, 2017

Creative Family Spirituality Workshop, a Big Success in Latvia

Karen Holford, Trans-European Division

The basement of the Central Riga Seventh-day Adventist Church was recently transformed into a colorful hub of activity, during a series of workshops on “Creative Family Spirituality” on March 18-19.

The workshop became a follow-up program led by Karen Holford, Trans-European Division Family Ministries director. A year ago, she had left a set of her “100 Ideas” books[*] at a regional advisory for Women’s, Children’s, and Family Ministries directors. The book is packed with creative activities for Sabbath and family worship times. It also includes tips on how to teach and learn memory verses, and pray together.

A group of children, parents, and grandparents enjoy hands-on learning about creative ways for fostering children's spirituality, in Riga, Latvia, last month. [Photo: Karen Holford, TED]

After the 2016 workshop, Marite Lipska, Children’s Ministry director for Latvia, felt inspired. She asked for permission to translate the books into Latvian, and planned a special weekend to introduce the materials to families and church members from all over Latvia.

Lipska’s dream finally came true. “All five books have been translated into text documents that we shared with every family by email,” said Lipska. “The creative activity instruction cards—which Holford uses to introduce people to some of the ideas in her books—were also translated for churches to use.”

Lipska prepared and organized the materials for dozens of activities, so they were ready for the participants to use and explore.

“These seminars were God’s answer to my prayers.”

About 50 people attended the workshops over the weekend. They learned how to integrate creativity into their everyday family spirituality and church communities. A handful of children came with their parents. They became totally absorbed in different activities, as they wonderfully showed the difference and delight that creativity can make in a child’s relationship with God.

“I have been searching online for ways to make family worships more interesting and special for my 3-year-old daughter,” said one participant in her feedback form. “These seminars were God’s answer to my prayers.” The young mother said her goal is to find ways to introduce her daughter to God and His big love through family worships. “Now I found wonderful ideas, answers to questions, practical examples, and an opportunity to explore some of the activities for myself,” she said.

Another lady said that the activities “significantly developed my creative thinking, so that I can now look at spirituality through the eyes of a child.” She added that she discovered fresh ways to tell children about God “through our everyday lives together, so that they can get to know Him even better.”

“Now I can suggest new ideas in church, for teaching children and teenagers,” said another participant. “This seminar has inspired me.”

[*] The titles of Karen Holford’s collection are 100 Creative Activities for Sabbath; 100 Creative Prayer Ideas for Kids; 100 Creative Worship Ideas for Busy Families; 100 Quick and Easy Worship Ideas for Kids; and 100 Creative Ways to Learn Memory Verses.