On the heels of Canada’s record-breaking 14 gold medals at the 2010 Olympic Games, Scott Street MB Church, St. Catharines, Ont., held its own winter competition during spring break, March 15–19, 2010. Unit #9, an empty apartment available for community organizations at 10 Old Pine Trail, was the centre of activity. Many of the residents at the 80-unit housing complex run by Niagara Regional Housing are recent immigrants, single parents, or unemployed.
In the three weeks leading up to the event, volunteers handed out flyers counting down the days to Old Pine Trail’s competition and counting up the medals Canada won.
Scott Street volunteers filled the unit with upward of 30 registered children, holding activities in every room. Divided into teams, the children selected a country name and produced a flag. The three countries were Ucansa (amalgamation of USA and Canada), Bosnia, and Mauritius.
Each day opened with a torch bearer, flags, and parade through the complex, bringing out new children daily. Then the group headed to Unit #9 for crafts, snack time, and Bible stories, like the parables of the prodigal son, the unforgiving servant, and the sower and the seed. Many of the children heard the stories for the first time as they participated in dramatizing them.
Next, children and volunteers went outside for competitions: relay races, three-person skiing, and hockey shoot-out. Snow competitions were cancelled due to unseasonably mild weather, which also seemed to be in competition, with each day nicer than the previous.
Throughout the week, children designed, sanded, and painted a Kub Kar to race at the church on Friday. The church family hosted a potluck supper attended by parents and friends of the participating children before the final Kub Kar activity. Gold medal status was awarded at the end of each day of close competition. The Kub Kar races decided the standings: Bosnia won gold, Ucansa silver, and Mauritius bronze.
The week of competition and fun wrapped up with medal presentations for the participating children, thanks to the volunteers, and an invitation for Old Pine Trail residents to attend services at Scott Street. One child from Old Pine Trail has joined us for a church event and Sunday School.
A four-minute video of the Unit #9 Olympics illustrated pastor Pat Bartley’s Easter Sunday sermon on Jesus sending out his disciples in John 20. Scott Street MB Church is learning to be a “sent church” not a “staying church”; their ongoing intentional activities at the nearby subsidized housing complex are one path to that goal.