The Open Arms Institute is offering a training conference on “Connecting with Families in Your Community” April 17-19 at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Open Arms Childcare Center in Glenview, Ill.
The three-day conference is open to anyone with an interest in starting a Lutheran child care center — either in conjunction with an existing congregation or to start a new congregation. Participants will have opportunities to get acquainted with the Open Arms concept and visit with those who are operating a successful child care center.
Topics to be covered include doing demographics and feasibility studies, acquiring financing, purchasing a site, building a facility, hiring staff, setting up a program, and reaching out to the community.
Immanuel Lutheran, the host congregation, was facing a declining membership and uncertain future when its leaders conducted a market survey that indicated a need for child care in the community. Its Open Arms center opened in January 2007, and today cares for 55 children ages two months to 5 years.
“We had our first infant baptism in December of one of our Open Arms babies, and we will have another baptism coming up soon,” Director Wendy Pritchard told Reporter. The center has sponsored “numerous ministry events” — such as family game nights, a first birthday party, and open houses — in the past year to “bridge and build relationships between the church and school,” Pritchard added.
Conference-goers will have an opportunity to hear about the congregation’s experience, tour the child care facility, and talk with Pritchard, Pastor David Barber, and other staff.
Registration, which includes most meals, is $175 for Open Arms members, or $215 for non-members, by March 31; after that date, registration is $215 for members and $255 for non-members. A fourth registrant from the same ministry is free. Scholarship help is available.
The Open Arms Institute, based in Loveland, Colo., is an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that has helped Lutherans start more than 60 child care centers nationwide since 1989. Its purpose is “to foster and guide Lutheran church planting and Gospel outreach with child care ministry.”
Posted Feb. 20, 2008