Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Inter-denominational VBS attracts 220 kids; 100 adults

June 22, 2009

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

DASSEL-COKATO, MN - It has the word “school” in it, but Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a far cry from sitting in a desk and doing homework.

Recently, a large joint community VBS was hosted by St. John’s Catholic Church, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel Evangelical Covenant Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato.

“We had 220 kids,” Darcy Kenyon, volunteer VBS coordinator, said. “It was quite the week.”

“I don’t think it is often, especially in this area, that you see churches from different denominations coming together to worship, let alone in a way this is fun, exciting and engaging,” commented one of the organizers, Linda Resop.

“To see 300 kids and adults leading the way is nothing short of awesome,” she added.

“What an example the adults and churches are setting for our kids growing up,” Resop commented.

“Jesus led the way when he sent Paul to the Gentiles, and it is nothing short of God’s work to see our churches following suit. It is a blessing to see kids and adults worshiping beside each other, helping each other and focusing on our Lord instead of our differences.”

The joint VBS attracted 220 kids attend and more than 100 adult volunteers from the churches and community.

It ran five days and five nights in the second week of June. The theme this year was “Crocodile Dock, Where Fearless Kids Shine God’s Light.”

Each night the VBS started with prayer, music and a skit, then the kids rotated through stations that included a movie and snack, games, crafts and the re-creation and telling of the evening bible story.

Then end of the night closed again with prayer and music from our live band, Resop said.

All activities were focused around a Bible story and theme for the night. “All week long we read from Exodus and some of Moses early adventures,” Resop said.

As a part of the worship, the churches also do a mission project. This year the churches raised money to support Friendship Ventures, a local non-profit organization that provides camping and care opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Friendship Ventures owns and operates three separate camps, with the closest and biggest camp being Camp Friendship on Clearwater Lake in Annandale. It provides week, weekend and day camp opportunities for individuals with disabilities from ages 5 to over 75.

Thursday night at the VBS closing, John Warner from Cokato, a representative from Friendship Ventures, spoke to the participants about the organization, and how the money raised will help participants.

As a special treat John’s brother, Bob Warner, also from Cokato and a camper who has attended Camp Friendship, entertained the crowd with three songs on the accordion.

Coming together, the churches raised $1,194.

“It was a really fun and exciting week, but nothing would have been possible without the awesome volunteers, leaders and donations from our church families! The program is put on at no cost to the kids and is funded fully by donations, volunteer time and the churches themselves,” Resop noted.

As far as VBS in general, other churches also create positive energy as well.

“It’s a real outreach to the community,” said Vivian Mahlstedt, who is in charge of VBS at Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato.

Summer Bible school programs have existed for more than 100 years, and traditionally include a week of singing, Bible stories, crafts, games, and snacks. Many area churches have a VBS program, but each does things a little differently.

Many churches in the area have several visitors attend VBS.

Many churches are happy to have visitors, but would like people to sign up ahead of time so they can order the correct number of supplies.

Another reason people may be drawn to summer Bible school programs is that they are typically offered at no cost. The programs rely on volunteers to teach, help with crafts, make snacks, organize games, and coordinate music.

Some churches have Bible school in June, while others wait until the end of August. Because it’s spread out, children often attend more than one program, Mahlstedt said.

At many churches, the kids who attended VBS sing during the service the following Sunday.

At Faith Presbyterian Church in Silver Lake, each family is given a CD with the music from the week, secretary Stacie Jurek said.

The crafts also remind families of their time at VBS.

“It’s a real outreach to the community,” said Vivian Mahlstedt, who is in charge of VBS at Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato.

Summer Bible school programs have existed for more than 100 years, and traditionally include a week of singing, Bible stories, crafts, games, and snacks. Many area churches have a VBS program, but each does things a little differently.

To learn more about VBS programs, contact the individual churches. Phone numbers are listed on the church page in the Enterprise Dispatch.


 

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