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VBS 2018-Together, We are God’s Family

 

Vacation Bible School, those words can bring excitement, anxiety, stress and worry as churches look for ways to share the stories of faith with our children.

This year, an idea was born when Eastminster Presbyterian, Fountain Inn Presbyterian and FPC Simpsonville celebrated Epiphany together with our children. The Epiphany Party was such a success that someone said, “what if we combined for Vacation Bible School this year.” So, the journey began.

We decided on a one day format and Joan Jones, Director of Children and Middle School Youth Ministries at Eastminster, gathered a group and began dreaming of what this day could be.

Once we decided to move forward with a joint, one-day VBS, we also invited children from the Thornwell Children’s Home in Clinton to come and join us.

Our day was split into two sections. Our morning theme was “I am a Child of God.’ We celebrated each child’s uniqueness and gave thanks to God for the gifts we have each been given. Each child created a beautiful piece of art where they named and celebrated what makes them special.

The morning session included music, art, stories and a discussion for adults, led by Pressley Cox, EPC, and Chris Jones, FIPC, on how we as adults can nurture, guide and support our youth as they grow up in a very different world.

Following lunch, we dove into our afternoon theme, Together, we are God’s Family. We again spent time in music, art, bible story, recreation and also created gift bags for families in Habitat for Humanity homes as well as persons being served by Safe Harbor.

The afternoon art project, led by Jaime Winton, was to create something that each group could take home to their churches or home to remind them that even when we are a part, we are all God’s family. Each person at VBS, children, youth and adults, created 4 sticks. The sticks were used to create a piece of at that says “God’s Family Sticks Together.”

Our day ended with a VBS celebration and cookout dinner. What a gift to gather over 50 adult volunteers, over 15 middle school and high school youth volunteers and 40 children all from 4 different communities who planned, prayed, sang and shared as we gave thanks for a God who calls us into community together.

VBS in Foothills Presbytery

You may recognize this crazy surfer who helped First Sptg raise money for their mission project...apparently his surfing skills were "limited!"

You may recognize this crazy surfer who helped First Spartanburg raise money for their mission project…apparently his surfing skills were “limited!”

Sharing the GOOD NEWS in the  midst of a long, hot summer!

by LeAnne White and Debbie Foster

All around the upstate this summer, Foothills Presbytery churches held VBS programs teaching children about God through Bible drama, memory verses, snack, recreation, crafts, and music! VBS programs bring out volunteers from all generations, and as Beth Burris-First Sptg said, “I’m not sure which group has a better time.”
Themes included: Cokesbury’ s Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love, Group’s Pets Unleashed, Living Waters Water All Around the World and Nuthin’ But Net, Group’s Cave Quest, and some curriculum created by churches themselves.
A few highlights:
  • Central used the youth curriculum Group offered to create a “youth crew” for rising 6th and 7th graders. They had their own curriculum and did lots of mission work around the church! “We also welcomed a child with special needs this year at VBS. She was turned away from other churches before but their volunteers stepped up in a great way to help her celebrate with them!”
  • Eastminster had another successful one day VBS followed by a Sunday morning worship celebration.
  • Easley partnered with First Methodist Church across the street for the third year in a row for their VBS! During the week their tweens collected enough money for 5 wells for Marion Medical Mission ($400 each!) They also hosted a Ten Thousand Villages store at the church at VBS.
  • First Anderson invited their sister church, Salem Presbyterian to join them and they brought 9 kids and 2 adult volunteers! “We are excited about growing that partnership next year!” The children raised $1000 for the SC Sea Turtles Rescue!
  • First Spartanburg children raised $2000 for First Presbyterian’s Winter Warmth project which ensures children in local schools have new winter coats to wear in the fall. “Blessing upon blessing, worth all the hard work.”
  • Fort Hill partnered with their neighbors at First Baptist Church Clemson for a second year for VBS. “We met at First Baptist for most of the program. Nursery and some recreation was held at Fort Hill……We experienced another joyous and happy VBS with one another.” Children learned “Jesus gives us hope, direction, love and courage.”
  • Piedmont pastor Alyson Helvie said, “I continue to be amazed at the adult leadership and volunteering spirit in our small church. The adults at PPC are so willing to give of their time, talents, and resources to share the love of Christ with the children of this community.”
  • Pickens celebrated another successful week with many families attending from their child-development center and had a child and youth led worship service the Sunday following VBS.
  • Second traveled back in time to the Jerusalem marketplace for an exciting VBS experience this year. Participants rotated through play time, music, and visiting the various tents of the marketplace, which was a highlight for their children, youth, and adults.

Most VBS programs were at maximum capacity for space and volunteer-to-child ratios. Over 900 children were served, loved, encouraged & inspired through the amazing efforts of staff and volunteers! Thanks be to God!