Friday evening 13th March saw the dedication of the NNSW Conference Creative Spaces Children’s Resource Centre which has relocated from a small shed on the conference office grounds to the northern end of the conference building adjacent to the chapel. Dr Linda Koh, General Conference Children’s Ministries Director was able to be present to dedicate the new centre. She was accompanied by Mrs Litiana Turner, Children’s Ministries Director of the South Pacific Division. It was fortuitous that Linda was able to be present despite Covid19. The General Conference issued a directive just prior to the dedication for all their staff to travel home immediately.
As part of the dedication evening Dr Koh presented an informative report on what is happening around the world in the area of children’s ministries.
Pastor Daron Pratt, Children and Family Ministries Director of NNSW Conference expressed appreciation to the staff who had looked after the centre in the past. He also thanked Mrs Rhonda Ward (current coordinator) who has taken the centre to a whole new level. Thanks was expressed to Mrs Joy Guy and Dr Ewan Ward for the many volunteer hours spent supporting the centre. Mrs Litiana Turner and Pastor Adrien Raethel, current NNSW Conference President, thanked all those who had been involved in supporting the Centre over the years as well.
In 1998 a children’s resource centre was created by Mrs Sallyanne Dehn to house resources created for each Big Camp. Initially resources were kept in churches, double garages, and storage facilities. As the collection grew it was then moved by Pastor Pratt to the NNSW Conference Office shed in 2009. At the end of 2019 Rhonda and her husband Ewan moved the collection to the new location at the end of the main office building. So now The Children’s Ministries Department and Creative Spaces Resource Centre are conveniently located together in a colourful, well organised and coordinated venue.
The Children’s Resource Centre has been utilised for years by churches, schools and individuals visually impacting Sabbath school rooms, Spiritual weeks, VBS programs, Big Camp, concerts and many other events. This fulfils the purpose and reason for the creation of the Centre; to help support the local church and schools with a supply of resources that saves them time, money and reinventing the wheel. Many programs with different themes have been held over the years with time and money being spent on resources, particularly at Big Camp. These resources are now part of the Centre for others to use for a small hire fee. The positive comments from teachers, Chaplains, Sabbath school leaders and program coordinators reinforce the reason why years ago a Resource Centre was created.
Mrs Rhonda Ward has spent countless hours photographing, cataloguing and revamping the Centre. Rhonda has a keen creative eye to assist those who need help in decorating a creative space. Rhonda passionately believes that putting effort into the visual aspect for children helps kids engage from the very minute they lay eyes on a scene. Rhonda says ‘A picture is worth a thousand words. Kids want to be part of a fun, attractive and inviting space’.
The Centre has flourished particularly over the last few years, housing quality backdrops, props and Vacation Bible School Kits which cover a broad range of themes. A catalogue has been put together by Rhonda and this is now located on the NNSW Conference website. Due to the number of resources and needed efficiency of finding items, a website is being created and will be available soon.
Dr Koh, visitors & staff expressed their delight and were amazed at the extent and quality of resources now available. Dr Koh said ‘The centre will be a blessing for years to come, not just to NNSW but to the whole of Australia’.
Pastor Pratt said ‘A long term dream has been achieved. The new location along with the best collection of children’s resources in the world is now able to bless local churches and schools in so many ways.’
The Ribbon into the new centre was cut by Pastor Raethel and Dr Koh as well as unveiling a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
Special thanks to the NNSW Conference for supporting this visual ministry and allowing it to grow and develop over the years. Special thanks to Russell Halliday, current CFO, who gave permission for the centre to move into the new location.
Many thanks to the churches and schools that have supported the centre over the years. For those who are not familiar with the centre you can check it out on the NNSW Conference website or drop by for a tour. You will be made very welcome.