Awana “Commander” Dianne McNichols says that the name of the group is an acronym for the bible verse in Second Timothy 2:15 saying, “Approved Workmen are not ashamed.”
McNichols said that the 90 minute program breaks into three segments, game time, council time-which includes bible lessons and handbook time-including memorization of scripture.
Awana’s website said that the club began in 1950 in Chicago, and now serves children in 12,000 churches nationwide and 3,900 churches in 109 other countries.
“We started with 67 kids in our first week. Last week, we had 119 and have had as many as 125. The kids are from age three all the way through high school,” McNichols said.
She added that many of the children came from congregations other than Liberty Point, including Cadiz Methodist Church, Oak Grove Baptist, New Light Baptist and Canton Baptist Churches. “Most of the members are Baptists, but Awana is not a Baptist group. It aligns with what we believe in, that there is one God, and Jesus is the way to heaven.”
Nine-year-old Matthew McNichols said, “At Awana we learn about God, that he is true. We say our verses, but the most fun part is game time.”
Dianne McNichols said that Awana is free for parents and members, though the shirts and vests worn by members must be purchased. “The only cost is the uniform, once it is earned. There are seven verses in the entry book. Once a member learns them, they earn a handbook and shirt.”
Ricky Reed, age 11, said that the Awana program offers arts and crafts. “I like to come whenever we make stuff. Last time I built a car out of Oreos, but I also went to the corner to talk to Jesus and God.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.