I shouldn’t be amazed at what God can do when we open ourselves up to God’s leading-but I am. Vacation Bible School at St. Philips Moravian Church was one of those times. It wasn’t that it didn’t look as if it would happen: we knew it would. It was the way it came about and what we all experienced that made this week together such a blessing!
The Salem Creek Regional Council of Churches (RCC), Home, Messiah, St. Philips and Trinity, became aware of a gap in the summer feeding program for kids in Forsyth County the week before the new school year. This presented a unique challenge and opportunity for ministry. Together we decided to offer a Vacation Bible School program, including a lunch, for the community kids surrounding St. Philips, many of whom are eligible for summer feeding programs. Planning began months before by choosing a curriculum and recruiting volunteers. St. Philips provided leadership, space, volunteers and a huge commitment of time and talent. Members worked many hours preparing the church for a week of ministry.
One of the unique components of this week was the large bag of food given to each child to take home at the end of our time together. Brothers and sisters from all four congregations worked together in gathering and preparing food. The first day began with 20 kids, and our last 49!
On the first day of lunch, I was assisting a 3 year-old, when I noticed one little fellow sharing his biscuit with his 2 younger brothers. When the kids were excused from the table, I watched him walk down the table, taking what little food the others had left, and eating it as quickly and unobtrusively as possible. I called him over and one of the cooks packed 8 extra jelly and butter biscuits to take home. He was very appreciative and assured us he would share them. I have no doubt he did.
It was a privilege to share God’s love through food and fun. Using music, crafts, puppetry, drama, Bible Study, and play-we explored our great worth and value. Many learned the Moravian Blessing, shouting “EVERYWHERE!” following “bless thy dear ones” and making joyful noises.
One of the best activities was creating a prayer wall, inviting each child to write his/her prayer on a strip of cloth applying it to the wall. One 5th grader shared that his mother worked 2 jobs. She had to explain to him and his brother that there just wasn’t enough money for school supplies right now. His prayer? Not for school supplies. He prayed his mom wouldn’t feel bad about not being able to provide them. And as God will do what God will do- Pastor Russ May and Anthony’s Plot brought over 50 bags of school supplies for every grade! I wish you could have seen this child’s face when he saw that!
The last day we invited parents and friends to a celebration to see what we had learned. The kids sang, offered presentations, the teens played handbells, and the youngest used sock puppets to share that we are all God’s children. Over 80 peopled shared a meal together that day! We all left exhausted- but blessed beyond measure! St. Philips’ leadership, willingness and love created something exceptional that week-and those of us privileged to be a part of it are grateful. As one little girl said, “I went to bed early so I could wake up and it would be time to come back here!” Our RCC does a lot of things together- but this is one of the most meaningful. What a fantastic week!
Submitted by Joyce Carter, Trinity Moravian Church