A Firm Foundation

by Mary Johnson, Childrens Ministries and Director of All Things Bright and Beautiful

Since I quite regularly am drawn to lyrics of songs for my Dove article inspiration, this month is no exception. The lyrics "how firm a foundation" jumped into my head as I was thinking about them in the context of "Where Are They Now?" So many social media posts or reality TV shows love this topic - so why not my Dove article?
As we conclude our 22nd year of All Things Bright and Beautiful on May 25, it is worth noting and celebrating the hundreds of young lives this program has touched. The first classes of students in 2004-2005 are now out of college and finding themselves in a variety of interesting professions. And I am certain the loving and nurturing experience they had here at ATB&B is contributing to their successes.

One of the students from the first year is Megan Murphy. And one of her teachers was her mother, Sue Murphy, who was also the second Director of ATB&B. Megan went to New Trier and DePauw University where she earned her degree in Music Education. For the past five years she has taught in the Goshen, Indiana middle school where she has been awarded five grants, purchased guitars, drums and Orff instruments, and established a choir that has performed at civic events and competed locally. When Megan is back home from Goshen, she is a regular here at CHC with her parents, Mike and Sue. Again, the lyrics come to mind; a firm foundation. Megan Murphy
One of Megan's favorite memories of ATB&B is the Angel tree-topper she made. To this day it is still atop the family Christmas tree having been lovingly preserved through the years. Megan shared with me her reflections on ATB&B:

"I remember making lasting friendships and memories through creativity and play. We would learn valuable lessons from our incredible teachers (shout out to my amazing mom and founding teacher of ATB&B, Sue Murphy!) and were always challenged to be the best kid we could be. There was always singing, reading, art, and plenty of smiles :)"

The second student whose success I want to share is Ryan Anderson. He started here in the Mommy and Me class and continued through Junior Kindergarten before going on to Sears School. He moved to Atlanta last year and is loving his new school, Westminster. He recently represented his school at the world competition in building robots and won 5th place. That's 5th place in the world! Ryan has a particularly strong reason to come back and visit ATB&B because his grandmother, Betty Duffy, is now a teacher here.

Ryan Anderson
Betty shared that when they were together over Spring break this year, Ryan was reminiscing with her, and his favorite memory is also a Christmas one. Every year, they look forward to unpacking the decorations and Ryan can't wait to get to his Baby Jesus doll! So many families still share with me that this is a beloved memory of All Things Bright and Beautiful and they still cherish their dolls.

On May 25th, when we say goodbye to 38 Junior Kindergarten students who will be going to Kindergarten in more than five different schools. So back to the lyrics: a firm foundation. Our Mission Statement says: In partnership with families, we will nurture each child's relationship with God, the World and themselves so that Christ's love will grow in and through them. The reputation of this school is acknowledged and deeply appreciated by all who work here. And our prayer is that parents continue to share with their children the love of Christ in their homes once they leave this program. The foundation is secure, loving and nurturing and it is a gift to these precious children that we all hope they will share with everyone they meet in years ahead. You are never too old for a rousing rendition of "Good Morning, God!"