The congregation of the United Methodist Church of Darien participated in a unique outdoor service on Sept. 11. On the solemn day of recognition, marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the service was also filled with celebration of growth and participation of its members.

The Rev. James Hoffman presided over the dedication of the Christian Education Staff, which include all of the adult volunteers who participate in the teaching of the Church's Sunday School program.

UMC Darien's Sunday School holds Christian education classes for all grades through high school. The dedication recognized the commitment of these adults and expressed the congregation's pledge of support in their ministry.

As part of the service, personalized Bibles were also presented to the third-graders of the congregation in recognition of their growth within the Christian community of the church.

And signifying the opening of the new playground of the Methodist Family Center Preschool, Hoffman presided over its consecration. The new playground represents the commitment of the congregation and the families whose children have attended the preschool, he said.

Laurie Anderson, Director of the Methodist Family Center Preschool, expressed deep gratitude to the congregation and others who made the new playground possible.

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She described her tenure at the preschool which started more than 17 years ago and the growth of the preschool program over its life.

The new playground fulfills plans for renovations in key parts of the preschool's physical space.

The United Methodist Church of Darien is a Christian community expressing its faith through worship and action. In response to the love of God and the example of Jesus Christ, they are called to reach out to the community in its diversity, accepting people just as they are and ministering to their needs; to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and development as we nurture Christian discipleship; and to equip and send disciples into the world to make life more loving and just for those who live here.

To accomplish this mission, they seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and blessing of God in developing effective ministries in the home, workplace, community and world.

More information can be found at www.umcdarien.org or by calling 203-655-1469.