Quest program offers age-appropriate religious teaching


Craig youths have a fun, interactive way to learn about the Bible, thanks to an after-school program called Quest.

Twenty-eight local youths in kindergarten through fourth grades head to the First Congregational Church of Christ after school on Wednesdays to hear stories from the Bible, take part in crafts and play games related to the teachings of Jesus.

"We're trying to teach them the Bible with games, snacks and activities," Director Barb Stoddard said.

"It's a Sunday school on Wednesday."

Children start arriving at the church at about 3 p.m., playing games and having snacks while waiting for everyone to arrive. Then they split into three classrooms, one for kindergarten and first grade, one for second grade and another for third and fourth grades.

Each teacher leads his or her students in age-appropriate activities for the curriculum's theme for the day.

On Wednesday, the main topic was that God judges people based on what's inside, not how they look on the outside.

The teachers at Quest are volunteers.

"They're absolutely wonderful and very dedicated and very loving people," Stoddard said.

After classroom time, the youngsters gather in the church for music and a mini lesson from the Rev. Melinda Bobo of Lutheran Church of Grace. Stoddard said some parents come early pick up their children so they also may listen to her speak.

Quest, which is in its sixth year, runs until 4:45 p.m. throughout the school year. The program is open to youths of all denominations, though many of participants are not associated with a church.

"So many of our youngsters are not churched at all," Stoddard said. "We do want these youngsters to get some church if they don't get it anywhere else."

For the upcoming holiday season, the youths will be learning about the events leading up to Jesus' birth. On Dec. 12, Quest students will present a Christmas play that incorporates singing.

Stoddard said the students also participate in activities in the community for holidays.

"If we teach them to have faith when they're young, they're can draw on that when things get tough," Stoddard said.

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