KOH2RVA: Day 170

5thgrade-carolingYesterday I blogged about some second-graders who are bringing heaven to earth.  Today, Nancy Pettigrew writes about the remarkable fifth-graders at Richmond’s First Baptist Church.

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You don’t have to be old enough to drive a car, write a check, or lead a team to be part of KOH2RVA. Not if you’re in FBC’s 5th grade Sunday school class.

The class has been Christmas caroling for decades. They began caroling for Ann and Garnett Poindexter in 1986 when Garnett was ill, and they have continued for Ann every year since.

5thgrade-poster1Relationships with those they sang to sometimes grew by happenstance. One year when headed to the Poindexters, they inadvertently went to the house next door. Of course, they caroled to the sisters who lived there and that friendship grew. When the 5th graders learned these sisters had moved to The Hermitage, they followed them there. Upon seeing the children again, one sister said with tears in her eyes, “I knew you would come.”

Everyone they visit values the children’s gift of time. Dr. George Modlin, former president of University of Richmond and long-time FBC member, showed his appreciation by always dressing for them in a three-piece suit.

The fifth graders discovered they don’t always have to be physically present either. When one woman had to travel on caroling night, the children sang to her via cell phone.

Sometimes the caroling relationships move beyond the Christmas season. Marion Lawton lived on Grace Street just two blocks from church. Three or four times each year the class went to her home for their Sunday school lesson. For her 100th birthday, the children wheeled her to church to celebrate with a party for her.

5thgrade-lakewood2In the fun of celebrating the holidays, the class doesn’t miss the bigger point, the KOH2RVA point – building relationships with our neighbors based on God’s love. In 2012 the class visited David and Kathy Glass. Because David has ALS, the children wrote him messages of promised prayers for him and his family. At Lakewood Manor, they used their caroling to connect with some of the families from FBC. Those connections extend a sense of family to the next generation.

And this fifth-grade caroling is crossing generations in other ways. Amy El-Khouri, the music teacher on the fifth grade team, remembers caroling when she was in 5th grade. It’s such a good memory that in 2012 she brought her daughters, Emma (6) and Madelyn (4), to start the next generation on the caroling tradition.

Read this story in its original context on the First Baptist website: http://www.fbcrichmond.org

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Fifth grade team: Andy Beale, Amy El-Khouri, Nancy Pettigrew, Charlie Tysinger

icon-nancy-pettigrew-21Nancy PettigrewNancy Pettigrew has taught 5th grade Sunday school for 28 years. She has also worked in other areas of the Children’s Ministry and in children’s choirs. Nancy leads the Prayer Ministry Team, is active in Catalyst Prayer and is a First Responder.

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