It’s a Blue Christmas

By Mary M. Rall
Community Covenant Church

Children will collect change in homemade piggy banks to donate in support of Project Blue world-wide endeavors.

Children will collect change in homemade piggy banks to donate in support of Project Blue world-wide endeavors.

The simple act of getting clean water to quench one’s thirst, to bathe and to cook is a life-sustaining need that eludes millions and is kingdom affliction Community Covenant Church is helping to cure through Blue Christmas endeavors throughout the Advent season.

Blue Christmas was inspired by the Project Blue experiences many of CCC’s high schoolers and adult leaders experienced when they attended the Covenant High in Christ youth conference July 12-17 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said Mission and Discipleship Pastor Erika Whittington.

“There was significant momentum built thorough the CHIC experience for many of our students, as well as through the denomination,” Erika said. “We wanted to continue with that momentum and to support the larger work of Covenant World Relief.”

According to the Evangelical Covenant Church website, Project Blue was launched at CHIC in partnership with CWR to: build awareness of the need for clean water and sanitation around the world; to help people become engaged in the issues of injustice that exist in the world due to the lack of clean water and sanitation; and to encourage people to work together to raise funds for the work CWR is doing to provide clean water and sanitation for communities in need.

Community Covenant’s worship services have incorporated information on clean water needs and how the congregation can make a difference through “The Advent Conspiracy” message series, and Community Covenant’s middle and high schoolers launched the Blue Christmas season by sponsoring a dodgeball tournament Nov. 28 that raised $1,975.01 to help provide clean water resources to the village of Elim, Alaska.

“This is important for us, because it’s a kingdom issue. The lack of clean water has a huge impact on communities, families and the overall health of the community,” said High School and Young Adult Director Mike Alverts. “It’s an amazing impact that clean water has on poverty and community health, and it’s something that’s relatively inexpensive for the body of Christ to engage with.”

Keeping the funds raised from the dodgeball tournament in Alaska allows students to better understand the very real needs of their own state and communities, Mike said.

“I’ve observed and heard stories about the impacts some villages have from a lack of clean water,” he said. “It makes life a whole lot more hectic, sometimes aids in the spread of disease or illness, and the lack of water generally puts undue stress in people’s lives.”

The high schoolers have likewise come alongside the Children’s Ministry to help first through fifth graders better understand how they can be an instrument for change in the world, said ministry director Stacy Pickens.

“We have exciting opportunities to engage in ‘Kids Helping Kids: Clean Water’ that will support what our greater congregation is learning and doing,” Stacy said. “We will be gathering for a special time of kids worship, thoughtful object lessons and corporate prayer focused on kids experiencing water crises worldwide.”

The “Kids Helping Kids: Clean Water” curriculum is particularly powerful, Stacy said, as it features object lessons from children concerning their real-world struggles to access clean water.

“I hope that by seeing and hearing stories from kids their age around the world, they will understand that we are the Body of Christ wherever we are and that their struggles should break our hearts too,” Stacy said. “I want the children to realize that they can reach out in real ways, financially and in prayer, to be a loving presence in the world that is in pain.”

The children will also be gathering change in water bottle piggy banks they made to donate to CWR water projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and India in an effort to help the children “conspire” to change the world in Christ’s name as “The Advent Conspiracy” messages inspire, Stacy said.

“We desire to participate fully in the challenge that has been put to our congregation. We will conspire to worship more fully by having our teen youth lead our first through fifth graders in kids’ worship,” she said. “We will conspire to spend more wisely by collecting our loose change and purpose it for world-wide water compassion projects.”

Teaching children about the impact they can have as the hands of Christ in the world will help them develop lifelong habits of education, compassion and generous giving, Stacy said.

“There is no greater mission we can endeavor in,” she said. “Each child will walk away more aware of the world’s water crises and more committed to taking action in prayer and in deed.”

Although Community Covenant’s youth have rallied to contribute to the clean water cause, Erika said the congregation as a whole can also make a difference in CWR’s Project Blue endeavors by donating through the Project Blue link on the church’s website at www.communitycovenant.net or by writing “Project Blue” in the memo line of checks during weekly worship service offerings.

“Covenant World Relief’s goal for Project Blue is $150,000. They are a little less than $25,000 short of meeting that goal,” Erika said. “I believe that the generosity of our congregation could shine through and help them reach their goal by the end of this year.”

Mike said he’s grateful CCC is building upon what the students learned at CHIC, where they were presented with Project Blue information and experiences that were meant to open their eyes and move their hearts and hands for Christ’s priorities in the world.

“Students were genuinely moved by needs that others have around the world. It’s good for us to take the next step in addressing some of these,” Mike said. “We can share in the work together.”

More information on Project Blue is available online at www.covchurch.org/relief/projects/project-blue.