Memorial Baptist Super Science Cmp examines creation through experiments

Super Summer Science Camp participants get some hands on experience, some more willingly than others, as they sort out various sizes and species of native Missouri crayfish brought in by Lincoln University aquaculture research specialist and professor Dr. James Wetzel on Monday as part of the seven-week program at Memorial Baptist Church.

Super Summer Science Camp participants get some hands on experience, some more willingly than others, as they sort out various sizes and species of native Missouri crayfish brought in by Lincoln University aquaculture research specialist and professor Dr. James Wetzel on Monday as part of the seven-week program at Memorial Baptist Church.

Sanding and painting, nearly 30 children from the neighborhood near Memorial Baptist Church are preparing pinewood derby cars.

They’re not Boy Scouts and they’re not Royal Ambassadors. But these kids, ages preschool through grade five, are getting the same experience of shaping, weighing, designing and racing.

At the same time, Linda Brinkmann and the other City Reach program volunteers are sharing their beliefs with the curious and energetic youth.

“My personal goal is to expose these kids to things that they normally would not get to do,” Brinkmann said.

Each Monday in June, the theme is Super Science Camp and they are exploring the creation story through experiments.

For examples, they studied geology and built water rockets, baked earth-colored cupcakes and saw how dyed-water and oil remain separate just as heaven and sin. Students from Lincoln University brought chickens and crayfish one week and the car races were examples of physics in motion.

“We tie it all in to the Creator as the greatest designer,” Brinkmann said. “I think the Bible is an exciting book and I want to give that same love over to them.

“I want them to realize being a Christian and exploring God can be a lot of fun.”

The City Reach program is broader than a summer camp.

When Brinkmann organized the program about three years ago, the intent was to intentionally build relationships with families who lived in the church’s neighborhood, she said.

Initial outreach began with a kickball tournament, an outdoor movie night and Halloween events. For each, Brinkmann went door-to-door with invitations.

“Most parents are interested in having their kids attend church events and activities,” Brinkmann said.

As volunteers have gotten to know many of these families, the church also has been able to meet other needs they might have.

“We want them to know the church is there to partner with them and help them get to know the Lord more,” she said.

On an individual basis, volunteers have taken neighborhood children horseback riding or taught them to swim. And the church covered the cost of sending about a dozen to church camp this summer.

“Our church is right here in their neighborhood, why not open our doors and share what we’ve learned about God?” Brinkmann said.

The youth group will do yardwork for neighbors who need help. And several times, social media has helped quickly meet a physical need, such as a bicycle for Christmas or a washer and dryer replacement.

“I believe if every church in America would reach around their building, how many ministries could open up?” she said.

Brinkmann acknowledges it is not easy, though.

“It takes getting out of your comfort zone,” she said.

Her daughter Abby Brinkmann, 17, has been helping with inner-city ministries for about five years.

“I didn’t have the passion for these kids until I actually got involved in their lives,” she said.

What the younger Brinkmann also has noticed is that many people in the church are willing to help those in need, but it takes someone like her mother to lead them or connect them.

“She’s my role model,” the teenager said. “It’s beautiful to see the fruit of Mom’s labor.”

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