“The root of a plant is very important. A sturdy root firmly holds the tree. During rain-storms, the tree bends and sways but it cannot be uprooted because it is rooted deep down”. – Aduke Akinola (WMU History, p.30)
Children occupy an important place in God’s plan. In the beginning of WMU Convention activities, children were not left out. Since 1919, Baptist Women’s Missionary Union of Nigeria has been providing Christian nurture to children, boys and girls. Our history will not exclude the contributions of Rev. Scott Patterson, Southern Baptist Missionary from America, and Mrs. George Green, the wife of the First Medical Missionary to Nigeria and Mrs. Mojola Agbebi, the first President of the Baptist Women’s Missionary League who gathered little children under the shade of a tree to teach them Bible verses.
Impact of Sunbeam Band
Sunbeam Band provides early Christian education to children (Mark 10:13-16; Mark 9:36-37) and mission-driven denominational leaders. Since WMU is known for missions, the value of missions in early years became evident by notable missionaries, who had been taught and encouraged in missions while they were Sunbeams.
Sunbeam Band Grouping and Membership
The division of children into different age groups has contributed to the growth of Sunbeam Band. In previous years, WMU Handbook states that children from three through twelve years of age were eligible members of Sunbeam Band. 1953 began the division of children from four through nine years. Few years later, the grouping provided for Beginner Sunbeam Band between ages 4 and 6 years while Primary Sunbeam Band is from 7 to 9 years. By 1999, enrolment of Beginner Sunbeam Band was 29,000, while that of the Primary Sunbeam was 26,578. However, in 2018, the membership of both Beginner Sunbeam and Primary Sunbeam has grown to 84,000. Twenty children is the ideal number/ratio for a Sunbeam leader and her assistant. The Sunbeam (boy) graduates at the age of 10 to the Royal Ambassador while Sunbeam (girl) graduates to the Girls’ Auxiliary.
Ungraded Sunbeam Band
The ungraded Sunbeam Band is the combination of both Beginner and Primary Sunbeams between ages 4 and 9 years. Churches are encouraged to have graded Sunbeam Band to provide developmentally appropriate Bible teaching and co-ordination developmentally.
Sunbeam Band Aims
The fundamentals of Women’s Missionary Union are the five shining aims of the Sunbeam Band organisation. The children can understand the aims easily if they learn in pantomime:
1. talking with our heavenly Father (Clap hands together as in prayer);
2. hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Cross hands and place them on chests to signify our hearts);
3. learning about the children of the world (Place hands together with palms up to make a book);
4. helping others for Jesus’ sake (clap hands with the person next to you);and
5. giving money to help preaching the Gospel (Extend hands, fingers dropping as in act of giving).
The Bible is the basic tool for teaching Sunbeams. Teaching materials such as maps, pictures and other helps cannot take the place of the Bible.
Sunbeam Band Programmes
All Sunbeam Band programmes focus on mission. Our programmes and activities include the Mission Study programme, Day Camp and Weekly Meeting Programme, Bible Memory Drill and Sunbeam Week. They acquaint children with other people around the world and create in every child the desire to love God more and to meet the needs of people. After observing Sunbeam Band activities as recommended by the BWMU Headquarters, the report booklet is filled and sent to the Headquarters, listing names of the children and their offering. When children are taught and led to love Jesus and others, they usually get busy doing so in later years. They are taught personal service and stewardship of their time, talents and treasures.
Sunbeam Band Colours: Sunbeam Band colours are: gold or yellow, sky-blue and white. Gold stands for ‘heaven bound”, sky-blue stands for love that we have for Christ while white stands for purity.
Sunbeam Landmark since 1919