calendar August 28, 2019 in Communications, Faith in action, Youth

Collaboration Sparks Creative VBS

Vacation Bible School looks a little different, maybe, than it has in years past, especially at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Washington, which was close to closing its doors five years ago when The Rev. Kristie Chandler first arrived.

She and the congregation chose to use the God’s abundant gifts to move forward with their ministry in new ways, rather than dwell on what may be missing.

Trinity has always been a neighborhood church, and once they settled on portraying themselves that way, they decided to bring the children into the mix. So, what is best for children? How about Vacation Bible School? It was a natural. Designing and delivering their own program was next in 2018.

Because of funding and staffing challenges, the “one-room schoolhouse” approach was chosen and worked perfectly with the theme of community service; serving others and living generously. Crafts, music and learning biblical themes were all done in one large room.

Pastor Chandler first taught that everyone is important to God and deserves respect and honor. To demonstrate that universality, the living generouslytheme was actively practiced by going out into the community to help others while allowing the Trinity children to learn about other ways to live.

Susan Zomberg, of Montgomery County’s Interfaith Housing Alliance that provides shelter for families experiencing homelessness, welcomed the group to clean-up day. The VBS kids fixed up the area, pruned plants, painted special rocks for the courtyard and in general created a cared-for environment.

We’re all part of the same community, and should all work together to get to know our neighbors and help improve everyone’s life, says The Rev. Rachel Anderson, pastor of the former St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ambler that closed in April 2019, and who participated in the event.

In spite of the anxiety around the state of the church today, she said this VBS experience was “refreshing.”

“We are still here and we’re still going to serve our neighbor and teach kids that God loves them just the way they are and that they are a valuable part of the community. There are no strings attached other than help your neighbor, serve your neighbor,” says Pastor Anderson.

“With God all things are possible, and we will concentrate on all the things we have and how to share them with others,” adds Pastor Chandler.

— Brenda Lange