Tuesday, August 4, 2020

An important VBS. . .

We were not sure if a Vacation Bible School would be possible in an age of masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, and fears.  We were not sure if any families would be ready to bring their children to the church after having them sent home from school, the fear of God placed in them by media, and the uncertainty over what safety meant.  But we wanted to try.  Surprisingly, the young families decided they were ready. We were not quite ready to open it up to everyone and we did not think large group events, typical of VBS, would be possible so we put our heads together and came up with a plan.

We kept the classes small (10 or less), kept the students in their classroom (except for recreation), and brought the opening, music, craft, and lesson to them in their classroom.  Though we had a meal in the past, this time we had packaged snacks for the parents to give to their children on the way home.  There were some stumbles and some learning curves but in the end it worked.  We averaged between 40-50 kids each night, 25-35 adults doing various things, and it ended up being a pretty decent VBS.  If you have read my blog in the past, you might expect a comment from me on the shallow content typical of most VBS curricula and missed opportunities for Lutheran kids to learn the Lutheran faith.  Yes, we found some issues with that -- things too generic, not quite age appropriate, etc., but we made it work.

As you know VBS was and usually is more about outreach than anything else.  In a typical year we might have a third to a half our attendance (usually larger) from unchurched folks or folks with only a nominal association with a church.  To many the attraction is babysitting and we gladly have taken advantage of that desire to teach Jesus Christ to their children.  This year there was another need.  After children being apart for so long, there was a need to bring children of the church together with their Christian friends to learn again what it means to gather in the Lord's name.  Some churches in our community were only just starting up their Sunday services and most of them had no intention of even trying VBS.  But we thought there might be an even more urgent need this year.

It was my wife (attending every night with first time VBSer our grand-daughter, not quite 3) who noticed it.  The kids were a little tentative in the beginning, perhaps unfamiliar with the idea of being around a few other children much less so many.  In the end, perhaps the best thing our kids experienced was their Christian comradery.  They sat together, sang together, learned together, and, not insignificantly, they played together outside -- having the time of their lives! 

Sure there were a few comments from busybodies wondering why not everyone was in a mask or why a kid was too close to another one.  Thank you so much for your interest and willingness to critique!  But they were not local folks and did not represent any of the families involved.  So thanks go to the whole VBS crew and the parents (and grandparents) who brought their children (and grandchildren) and to the kids.  God bless you and glad you came!

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