Wednesdays are busy at Bethel Lutheran church in Northfield. Busloads of giddy kids from kindergarten through fifth grade are picked up after school and delivered to Bethel for BAM (Bible, Arts and Music). After a summertime hiatus, the popular program was in full swing yesterday.
The August phone call received by the Bethel receptionist was typical.
“We don’t belong to Bethel, but can I sign my third grader up for BAM?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Every Wednesday last year when my wife picked our daughter up after school, she saw these screaming kids hollering, ‘Yay, we’re going to BAM! Yay, we’re going to BAM!’, and our daughter began to plead with us that she be allowed to go with her friends. I guess when kids beg to go to church, you must be doing something right.”
Here is a full description of BAM from the Bethel website.
The B in BAM – Bible
Our weekly schedule includes a 30 minute video session for all students. We use the Nest Family Video series. Each video is a beautifully crafted telling of a basic Bible story. We begin the year in the old testament and conclude in May in the new testament. We see this as a learning experience for our children and know from past experience that our children are more knowledgeable about basic Bible stories due to their exposure to this video series. In addition, it gives our children a much needed quiet time in a very busy day.
The A in BAM – Arts
At Bethel Lutheran Church, we are blessed with many members who are gifted in a wide variety of the arts. Many of these wonderful folks are willing to share their time and talent with our children. Therefore, we are able to offer several art/activity choices throughout the year during our TNT (Trying New Things) time.
The M in BAM – Music
Singers in kindergarten through 2nd grade participate in the Alleluia Choir. The Alleluia Choir is designed as a preparatory program with less emphasis on performance and more emphasis on music skills development through songs, games, and movement.
3rd through 5th graders sing in the Carol Choir. This group participates in worship services generally once or twice per month.
The Bethel Orff Ensemble
The Orff Ensemble uses a variety of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments to improvise music, perform composed “Orff” anthems, and accompany choirs. Members participate in church services throughout the year. The Orff Ensemble is available for BAM students in grades 3, 4 and 5.
1/2 Steps and Grace Notes are our handchime ensembles. Handchimes are a precursor to learning handbells. Children do not need to be able to read music to begin. The experience is available for children in grades 3,4, and 5. The group rehearses once a week during BAM and performs four to five times during the year in worship services. The children learn how to read music, learn how they can use their talents to serve God and nurture a love of music at the same time.
Friends and family are invited to join us for BAM Chapel each week. During Chapel we will utilize our older students as ushers, readers and acolytes and we expect that our choirs and chime ensembles will regularly contribute an anthem or lead us in singing. Chapel will begin shortly after 5:00 each Wednesday. We look forward to closing our BAM experience each week in this worshipful setting.
Right after BAM comes Bistro, a weekly supper prepared under the loving leadership of volunteer Ruth Bolstad and a rotating crew of volunteers.
Bistro currently serves, on average, 200 people each week. Many families make it a time for a simple family meal during a very busy day. Bistro is also a great opportunity to enjoy fellowship with other Bethel members. Bistro is much more than getting a meal on the table. It’s about working together, teaching and learning, fellowship, catching up, laughter, AND nourishment.