What does Soteria mean?
Soteria, σωτηρία, is a Greek word for salvation. It is used numerous times in the New Testament, in varying forms, and its meaning is broader than our understanding in English allows. Soteria is deliverance and restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health, and well-being. It also means preservation from danger. The ultimate emphasis is on salvation alone in Jesus Christ because through Christ our relationship with God is restored. God also desires for us to live abundant lives. This life we have in Christ starts when we receive the gift of salvation. Here is an example of its usage: Philippians 1:19 “For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”
What can we do?
Many assets children need throughout their lives are already touched on in many of our ministries at Orenco Church. This pandemic, however, and its resulting quarantine is an opportunity to fill the gap for what parents, teachers, and communities struggle to provide at this time. The need for whole health for the whole family will continue post-pandemic.
Soteria Children’s Initiative will focus on whole health for the whole family, children, teens, and parents of all ages, in our growing community. We were created not only to have a relationship with God, our Creator, but also with one another. As we are quarantined in our homes, the loss is deep. Much of what we need as developing children and adults comes from community and the gifts we bring one another.
William Barclay reminds us of the broad sense of soteria (σωτηρία), that in its former usage, a family member may ask another, “Write me a letter about your soteria.” In other words, tell me how you are. Our whole health includes how we are and who we are. As a faith community, we are able to care for children and their families and provide opportunities for them to develop many of the assets needed throughout childhood and adolescence by using the gifts and talents we already have.
These opportunities will not only share the love of Jesus Christ with children and their families, but through them God will begin to restore what has been lost, preserve what remains in harm’s way, and live actively and dynamically in our neighborhood and families!
What does this look Like?
Post-quarantine ministry to children and families looks much different than what once was and is a fundamental shift in ministry. Post-quarantine children will need fun opportunities, healthy relationships, safe surroundings, and invitations to fellowship and a sense of belonging! Into the future, children and families will need structure and continuity. It is our intent for this opportunity to begin in response to this pandemic but to continue as a ministry, with community partners.
- § First Initiative: Day Camp(s) for Children of all Ages - Orenco
This day camp will utilize volunteers to provide fun, healthy relationships, safety, fellowship, and a sense of belonging. Camps for youth will focus on service, belonging, and development of new skills through mentoring relationships. Youth will learn from and give back to their own community.
- Camp for children will focus on safe, creative activities, healthy adult communication and support, and a positive view of the future, as children emerge from quarantine for fun and a renewed sense of belonging and community.
- § What do additional programs look like?
- Orenco Church’s leadership monitors the governor’s directives during this pandemic daily. Additional opportunities are being designed around the pandemic response timeline. The following list is not exhaustive of the possibilities, nor of “whole health for the whole family.”
- Basic Christianity Communication Workshops
- Academic Tutoring Screen Time Workshops
- Anti-Bullying Program Youth Mentors
- Exercise Classes Financial Advising
- Spiritual Direction Music Lessons
- Grief Counseling Support Groups
- Resumé Assistance Small
Job Seeking Assistance Healthy Eating Workshops
- Parenting Workshops Opportunities for Service
- Community Building Understanding
of Christian Values
Conflict Resolution Workshops