Finding God in our neighborhood through children’s theatre

Diane Elliott

For the past few years the faith community of Christ Church Wainfleet has been working diligently to envision “where God is out there ahead of us in our neighborhood”. And how we — an aging parish where many of our active members are caring but consumed with caregiving, personal health issues and the God-given gift of simply winding down — might join in.

After many conversations, a year and a half of study to understand what it means to be “missional” in the Anglican Church today, a summer of focus on renewal (thank you, Bishop Susan!) and abundant prayer, we have come upon a new and inspiring ministry that is helping us to renew some of our existing ministries by taking them to the next level.

In our many and varied discussions, inside and outside of our church doors, we posed the following three questions: How have we served the community in the past when our members were young and vibrant? What gifts do we have now that we know our neighborhood may need? Where are these needs already being addressed in our community, and how might we join in?

The answer was not only surprising, but also for Christ Church Wainfleet, immediately accessible and easily doable based on the gifts we have to offer, and the resources God has given our faith community over the last 150-plus years. 

Most exciting of all, it meets the needs of our surrounding neighborhood, where God has been out there ahead of us already sowing the seeds.

Our new initiative is The Children’s Theater Company (TCTC), where youth 10 – 16 years of age experience God’s mission through participating in the performing arts. 

The focus of this ministry is to continue to work with our newly developed neighborhood partnerships and, in some cases, to renew and revitalize old neighborhood partnerships. 

Wainfleet has a rural population of 6,872 residents, most with agricultural backgrounds. Many of these families cannot easily access or afford to participate in performing arts classes or quality children’s theatrical productions. 

The schools in our neighborhood do not have the funding or the resources to provide for the performing arts, and our homeschool population has expressed great interest in accessible performing arts opportunities.

TCTC, as envisioned by our faith community, is “missional” at its core. Participation is free, as are tickets to all of our performances. Our model is “The Kingdom of God,” and our message is “Love your neighbour”.

We have 17 youth participating in TCTC. 

They are currently in rehearsal for their first major production, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to be presented May 31 and June 1 at 7:00 p.m. and June 2 at 3:00 p.m. All performances will be held at Christ Church in Wainfleet.

For more information contact The Reverend Deacon Diane Elliott at (905) 321-9502.