By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
They've got some good news for boys and girls alike.
Much like many churches, the Good News Chapel on South H Street provides area young people with Wednesday night activities.
Sheryl Woods, head counselor at Good News Chapel, said young people start arriving at the church right around 7 p.m. each Wednesday. From there, they open with devotions, which are closely related to their theme this year, “God is Greater than I,” explained Woods.
Young people who attend the church's Wednesday night activities three weeks in a row while wearing their group shirt, and carrying their bag and Bible, get a prize for their attendance, noted Woods.
The children then sing a song and dismiss to their classes.
The girls group, called GEMS, meet at Good News Chapel on Wednesdays, while the boys group meets at a nearby home owned by the church, Woods said. GEMS stands for Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior, noted Woods.
There are GEMS groups meeting way beyond Oskaloosa's borders.
“It's worldwide, actually,” said Woods of the GEMS group.
GEMS get to show what they've done in the group through patches, which they earn that are sewn on to their own individual banner. The patches are each related to the girls' study of a particular portion of the Bible, for example.
“We've got some down there that are just all full,” said Woods of the number of patches some banners display.
Having a Wednesday night activity opportunity is good for young people at Good News Chapel because some children are unable to make it to Sunday school, said Woods.
“So, by having it in the middle of the week, we can offer, you know, the extra learning of the Bible lessons and the crafts that we do,” Woods. “They just really, really enjoy the learning.”
Wednesday night at Good News Chapel is also a good social opportunity. Woods said a lot of the children know each other from school. Many of the girls in GEMS go to different schools and have the opportunity to socialize on Wednesdays, she added.
Linda Kelley heads up the boys' club on Wednesday nights. Kelley said this group usually gets started around 7 p.m. each Wednesday, starting with pledges and the reading of the mission statement.
There are also three songs the boys work on throughout the season, Kelley said. Each March, Good News Chapel has a “boys club Sunday” where the boys perform the songs they've practiced in front of the church.
Wednesday's at the boys' club also includes Bible lessons, Kelley noted. They also do crafts and games each week.
The last Wednesday of every month, they have an activity night, this past Wednesday being the Fall Party. Kelley noted that Boys' Club activity nights also include mini putt, a movie night, a Super Bowl party, bowling as well as seasonal parties.
Kelley also noted that it's good to have a Wednesday group event for young people because some of them are not able to make it to church Sunday morning.
“It's just a good opportunity for them to have an activity to do that's really good for them,” Kelley said.
“Having mid-week classes gives us an opportunity to focus on these groups in more detail than we can during Sunday services and we can design these classes to meet their needs, classes specially made just for them,” Wrote Kelley in an e-mail to the Herald.
The boys' group is also a social opportunity, much like GEMS, Kelley said.
Are you a leader at an Oskaloosa-area church? Does your church have a Wednesday evening Bible study and/or youth group? Would you be interested in having the Herald do a story on those activities to be included in a series of stories?
If so, contact The Oskaloosa Herald at (641) 672-2581.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at email@example.com.