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.

Last year, an idea was born when Eastminster Presbyterian of Simpsonville, SC, Fountain Inn Presbyterian of Fountain Inn, SC and First Presbyterian of Simpsonville, SC 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 local artist and Eastminster church member 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.

This article was originally posted on Foothills Presbytery Connections Blog.


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Joan Jones

Joan Jones is the Director of Children and Middle School Ministries at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, SC.  Joan is passionate about including young people in every aspect of church ministries, especially worship.