Andrea Woolley - Our Kids

“I chose this church. I chose to apply to work at Crescent Hill because of its diverse congregation and multiple languages. I came in almost three years ago knowing what I was walking into, or so I thought (at the very least I knew the demographics).

I am at an advantage because I never knew CHBC as the seminary church or the rich church or the white church or whatever it may have been known as in the past. I only know CHBC as the church it is today, and I love it. Even though my preferred worship style is vastly different than the typical CHBC Sunday morning worship, even though the hours are long and sometimes unpredictable, even though I get paid less now than I did working my first full time job a decade ago, even though there are unprecedented challenges and frustrations, even though navigating these uncharted waters leaves me breathless and at times feeling quite inadequate, I still love this church and this job.

The kids make this job worth it. I love our kids. I don’t always know the best way to meet their needs or how to balance the teaching between my English-Language-Learners and my fluent English speakers, but I can always love them.

I was recently showing a friend around the church and pointed out the bulletin board near the elevator. “These are my kids,” pointing out the pictures. “We were making blankets to give to those in our congregation if they get sick or are in the hospital.” I began pointing out individual students and telling their stories. “This girl, is brilliant. She is only in first grade, but already reads at a third grade level. These two live about a block away from me. I run into them occasionally when I am walking my dog. This boy, well…cognitively and socially he is very delayed, but he’s really friendly. He randomly sits with different people of the congregation every Sunday, hugs everyone he meets. Most of our congregation is very welcoming of him, but a few he has sat down with during worship give me a desperate look and I’ll go collect my “special” friend. Oh, and these two are very new to the country, they’ve only lived here for about 6 months. This boy is number four of eight kids in his family. This one’s teacher has me on speed dial.” I continue to tell my kids’ stories for a while.

I caught myself several time referring to our kids as my kids. I can be possessive of our kids, sometimes probably too much so. But they are our kids. The way I see it, God has entrusted to us these kids. Some for just a short time, some for a few months or years and some may be with us for the next 30 years. For now, they are our kids, and as such they all get the full benefits of being CHBC kids. They are loved. They are taught how to walk in the way of Jesus. They are helped with their schoolwork and paperwork. We make sure they are well fed and clothed in weather appropriate clothing. They have advocates because they are CHBC kids. Someone who has a louder voice then they will speak up for them and fight for their rights and make sure they receive medical care. They will be exposed to more – from Bible stories to music education to Passport Camp to Vacation Bible School to the Summer Academic Academy to educational field trips to mission projects and a whole host of other things. Because they are our kids we must take responsibility for them. We are the family of God, and we have a lot of kids. “

-- Andrea Woolley, June 2011

(If you have ideas for a future article, please contact Anne-Britton Arnett at 896-2337.)