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The students pose, armed with their shields and swords. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

Armed for faith

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WORTHINGTON — People passing by Worthington’s First Covenant Church on a recent evening might have blinked a few times upon seeing what appeared to be a battalion of Roman soldiers wielding swords and shields on the grassy area behind the building.

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The armor-clad troops — students in fifth through eighth grade — weren’t preparing to wage war on South Shore Drive, but demonstrating what they had learned in their church education program.

“They were getting to that age where they wanted to do more hands-on stuff,” explained Pastor John Stewart about the program that began about three years ago. “Most of them were Lego fans, so we did a model of the Garden of Eden, David and Goliath and the resurrection tomb. Then last year we did what I called ‘The Liquid Edition,’ and we did the world’s largest duct tape Noah’s Ark and floated it in Lake Okabena and Jonah’s whale.”

This year, the group focused on a text from Ephesians 6: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

“We meet every two weeks, so each month we did a lesson on the different armor of God,” Stewart said.

As they talked about the armor, the youths also made their own, with key assistance from some adults, and also helped construct a catapult or trebuchet, a common weapon in the times of the Roman empire.

“Alex Ling cut the shields and the kids painted them,” credited Stewart. “He also did these really neat swords. He also cut the pieces of the catapult. Jeff Ling helped, too. Lindy Roos and Sharon Klucking did the red tunics, belts and breastplates. We had to buy the helmets. The patterns we could find to make them were too cheesy.”

The culmination of the program was the launching of the trebuchet — each “soldier” getting a turn at firing a softball into the open field — and demonstration of several formations they learned for the First Covenant congregation. At least one of the soldiers learned that his shield couldn’t be utilized as a catcher’s mitt for the projectile, and a couple of others had outgrown the tunics they were measured for in the fall.

“Some of the Bible verses talk about being at the right hand of God, so they have their shield on the left and the sword in the right,” noted Stewart about some of the principles the soldiers learned as they demonstrated the formations. “If they got surrounded, they would form a circle. And this is called The Tortoise, used if they faced anyone with arrows so they could protect their heads with their shields.”

The First Covenant soldiers are: Will Brandner, Jake Brandner, Jacob Eggink, Sam Fellows, Ethan Hyvari, Kadence Hyvari, Sam Martin, Ian O’Donnell, Katie O’Donnell, Andrew Olsen, Bryce Olsen and Tad Stewart.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers may be reached at 376-7327.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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