CLEARWATER BEACH - The children from the Chapel-By-The-Sea Sunday School classes made posters, designed valentines and baked cookies. They also made a candy tree. Church member Sandy Phillips donated red carnations for the occasion. On the morning of February 12, a group of students from the pre-K through eighth grade classes, accompanied by teachers, parents, education director Lorraine Freitag and associate pastor Roy Rabatin, headed for Belle Vista assisted living facility for the annual Valentine Outreach Party. One of the residents, Louise Sechrest, was especially happy to see the children when they arrived. Sechrest, who is now in her early 90s, is a longtime member of the church.
First on the agenda was a concert by the children, who sang songs such as "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands", "Kum Ba Yah", "This Little Light of Mine" and "Fishers of Men". The residents of the facility were encouraged to join in the singing. Then it was time for the handmade valentines and flowers to be presented. After they had had the opporunity to read their individual cards, the residents were served refreshments. Hallie Muller, 8, was among those passing out decorated sugar cookies while Cassidy Bingham, 12, took the candy tree around the room. Residents were invited to pull off however many of the red and white-wrapped sweets they wished. Parents helped pass out cups of punch.
Bev Mackin, owner of the assisted living facility, says the residents look forward to the children's visit. This is the third year they have been entertained by the Sunday School classes, which for many years prior to that hosted an annual party for patients at the Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center.
The youngsters participate in several outreach projects throughout the year. Last fall, they held a bake sale to raise funds for hurricane relief. The $216 they made was donated to the Salvation Army. At Christmastime, they filled boxes with toys collected from the congregation. Half went to Religious Community Services, with the other half going to the Good Samaritan Mission near Tampa. Members of the Sunday School classes will soon be harvesting the vegetables they planted outside the Sunday School wing a while back. Thanks to their efforts, an estimated 30 pounds of carrots and onions will be delivered to the Religious Community Services Food Bank in Clearwater.
Chapel-By-The-Sea is located at 54 Bay Esplanade on Clearwater Beach. The Sunday worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School is scheduled at 9 a.m., Youth Sunday School at 10:30 a.m. Transportation is available to Sunday services. For more information, call the church office at 446-0430.
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