By ROBIN CAUDELL
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Turnpike Wesleyan Church knocked out walls between former Sunday-school classrooms to create its God’s Garden Children’s Worship Center.
The church recently held its first open house of the center built a year ago. Organizers anticipate the event will be an annual celebration.
“The idea behind God’s Garden was to teach,” said Debbie Kingsolver, who co-directs the center with her daughter, Kristin Carpenter.
“We were trying to encourage more children to come to our church,” Kingsolver said. “So, the pastor (the Rev. Norman Mesel) wanted to develop the center, and basically he told me he wanted it to be a center with different areas.”
Four rooms were opened into one spacious interactive center that has been sectioned into four areas: music, Bible stories, crafts and the Kids’ Café.
In the music area, children sing choruses, watch music videos and listen to worship music.
A mural depicting woods is the backdrop for listening to Bible stories.
The craft area features tables and cabinets stocked with supplies for crafts, coloring pictures and other activities.
The Kids’ Café features a child-size serving island with storage shelves and a built-in apartment-size refrigerator.
“It’s about 4 feet tall,” Kingsolver said. “It’s built on a level, so they can serve their peers and get their snacks. Children of all ages can access it. They have to get permission, so they can serve their peers drinks or snacks.”
The center was a hit with the children at the open house.
“They love it,” Kingsolver said. “We have an observation window so parents can observe without being noticed. There is a little entrance. We have coat hooks for the children, and parents can sign their children in. It’s meant to be totally interactive with parents and children.
“We have an open-door policy. Anyone can come and visit anytime. They can stay as long as they like or until their child gets comfortable.”
The center is operated during the church’s regular 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday services. There is no cost, and there are 10 staffers. The center holds easily between 25 and 30 children.
“We’ve been averaging 10 to 15 (children) each Sunday. Parents can drop their children off, and pick them up an hour later,” Kingsolver said.
The Turnpike Wesleyan Church also offers Parents’ Night Out. The next one is slated for Friday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. The theme is “Pajama Night.”
“They can wear their PJs, watch a movie, (and) have popcorn or snacks,” Kingsolver said. “We often have the children make their own snacks as an activity. It’s meant to be an interactive-worship center.”
Email Robin Caudell:
firstname.lastname@example.orgIF YOU GO WHAT: God's Garden Children's Worship Center WHERE: Turnpike Wesleyan Church, 2224 Military Turnpike, Plattsburgh. HOURS: 8:45 and 10:30 Sunday mornings. PHONE: 564-8764