Shared campers, shared resources and a shared love of God were all part of the Epworth Community Vacation Bible School last week. If one wanted to see if the week was a success, all someone would have needed to do is look at the faces of the 110 campers and 40 volunteers and look for the smiles.
While a vacation Bible school has been offered in the community for a number of years, for the last three years, St. Patrick Catholic Church and Epworth United Methodist Church have teamed up to offer the week-long program.
According to volunteer Shelly Rollins, the program instills a sense of community. “It’s been amazing working together. These kids see each other at school during the year. This gives us that sense of community all year long.”
During the week, campers learned about the Israelites, pharaoh and the 10 plagues. Campers even traveled through the Red Sea, which looked a bit like a hallway in the faith formation building. “After Moses tapped his staff into the water, campers walked through it into the wilderness,” Rollins explained. “That just happened to be a big weed patch out the back door that we decided to use.”
Campers also carried a rendition of the Ark of the Covenant with them as they traveled into the wilderness.
Traveling from building to building is also part of the week. “It gives kids time to travel from place to place, just like people in Jesus’ day would have done,” Rollins said.
Rollins said several of the volunteers are former campers. “We have kids home from college that come to help us.”
Rollins credited great community support for the program. “This is a free program. Campers get t-shirts and a music CD. People donate food. We rely entirely on donations.”
Response from parents and campers is enthusiastic. “We get several compliments from parents,” Rollins said. “And our campers don’t want the week to end.”
Rollins believes the message the community program sends is important. “We all have the same God. We all worship Jesus, love Jesus and love people. We all have the same mindset, so why not work together?”