by Vicki Rochow
Many of you will remember the Child In Our Hands conferences, in 2001. These conferences encouraged congregations and families to be partners in nurturing the faith.
One of the great legacies from this time of rejuvenation is the gift of the faith chest, presented by congregations to children at the time of their baptism. Many churches embraced this idea as an opportunity to encourage families to nurture faith at home.
There’s no set style for a faith chest; it might be a big paper-covered shoebox or an ornate wooden chest lovingly hand-crafted by a member of your congregation. Inside it are the spiritual treasures given by your church and family, to be used to nurture faith at home as your children grow.
At Grow Ministries we believe that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, families have the greatest influence on our children’s faith. We also believe that all members of the church family are called to partner with and equip parents and grandparents to be the primary faith nurturers for our children, as intended by God (Deuteronomy 6).
Items that may be placed in a faith chest include: your child’s baptismal candle, devotion books, Bibles, music (such as DVDs) and Sunday school projects. It becomes the storehouse for resources used by your family to nurture your child’s faith.
Every couple of months, four-yearold Ella takes out her faith chest (or ‘baptism box’ as she calls it) and sits on the lounge room floor, eager to look through it with her mum Naomi. The day I visited, she took great delight in telling me all about the things inside. There is an embroidered towel that the pastor used to ‘wipe the water off’. There are some prayer books and a DVD, and a beautiful letter from the lady who puts the boxes together for Ella’s congregation. All of the baptism cards Ella received are in there too. She displayed great enthusiasm in showing me her favourite one with a baby on the front: ‘She is so cute, isn’t she!’