Vacation Bible Camp

After church on Sunday the 16th, when our volunteers gathered for training, we paused in prayer. Each person offered a hope for our VBC campers. Words like "friendship," "welcome," "peace," "grace," "joy," "love," and "belonging" filled Congregational Hall. The words were a prequel to what would unfold over the next six days as campers and volunteers alike were surrounded by and embodied welcome, belonging, joy, grace, love, and even an occasional second of peace.

Camp is indeed joyful and energetic, sacred and silly, beautiful and messy, all at the same time. For a week, we created a unique church. Our choir was raucous and loved to dance during the quiet parts of a song. Our sermons were delivered in costumes and shared in 2-minute videos. While our members were still learning how to tie shoes, recognize letters, and say goodbye to parents during morning drop-off, they were confident in sharing kindness, bold in trying new things, and positively exploding with creativity.
This year, camp explored how we can use the arts to help tell God's story and share God's love. It was only possible because of our volunteers' love for the project. Incredible guest artists shared their gifts and passion, modeling how our creative work is faithful work. Faithful volunteers created space so campers could try their hands at everything: playing an organ, creating mosaics, directing a play, sculpting, singing, and more. Youth volunteers modeled leadership and faith to our campers. And a host of people filled in, welcomed, prepared snacks, and ensured everything was ready for God to work! Together, adults, youth, and children played, prayed, and explored. In every action, they were sharing God's love with one another and with anyone who happened to walk through the church or drive past on Montgomery Avenue.
I hope that as you look through the pictures available on Facebook, you will have a hint of what the week looked like. But let me share this memory: I experience VBC from a unique vantage point. Leading our gathering time means I look out on a sea of campers and volunteers, watching as they roll their eyes at silly jokes, giggle with friends, and dive into projects and activities with gusto. There are also sacred moments when we are singing together, and their voices overtake the recording, and they declare in movement and song that God's love is indeed "wider than my arms can reach, taller than the trees, higher than the stars above, and deeper than the sea."