Vacation Bible School 2023
It’s summertime, which means another year of VBS. This year we chose curriculum from ELCA World Hunger, not only because it is a free resource for congregations who support World Hunger, but also because of the following quote from the introduction to this VBS.
“...these past years have reminded us how far we are from the promise of health and wellness for us and our neighbors. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted in tragic ways our vulnerability to disease and the injustice of unequal care, treatment, and resources for health… The “Tree of Healing” VBS is a chance for children and adults to consider what health means and how God invites us to share in the building of a just world where all can enjoy the gifts of God’s creation.”
Our schedule each day started with gathering time where a skit to introduce the topic for the day was performed. After the skit, we learned and sang a few songs and then we dismissed the smaller groups to their first rotation of the day. The rotation included: Storytime, Hands-on Activity, Crafts and Games/Snack. After each group went through the full rotation, we gathered again for a short closing of songs and prayer.
Day 1 - Roots of Creation - At our day one skit, we met Sage, a tree, who introduced us to the idea that “God made creation for us and God made us for creation”. Our activities that day focused on health in creation, we planted seeds, and had a scavenger hunt to find things in creation. We also learned about a boy from the country of Eswatini whose life has improved because of a community garden, where he can not only get fresh produce but also sell/trade his produce to get other items his family needs.
Day 2 - Healthy Minds and Bodies - Sage told us that trees communicate with each other through their roots and that a forest can’t be healthy without healthy individual trees. We focused on mental health and learned about mental health services for South Sudan refugee families in Egypt. We learned that we have many different emotions and sometimes it is hard to share our feelings. In crafts we made bracelets using beads in the colors found in the Egypt and South Sudan flags.
Day 3 - Different Bodies, Different Gifts - Sage taught us that we can pray for our own healing, as well as the healing of others. Our theme for the day “Different Bodies, Different Gifts” focused on using our gifts even when we have limitations. During the Hand’s-on activity rotation, kids learned sign language and Braille. In story time, they learned about a crafting program in Bangladesh for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Day 4 - Bearing Fruit - Our last day of VBS we learned about how healing and being healthy can have good effects on a whole community and the world. In story time we learned about a community garden in Minneapolis, where over 250 families work together to not only grow their own food, but also create a sense of community. Our Hand’s-On leaders invited RNs to talk to the kids about their health and to show how to put together a first aid kit. In crafts the kids made a friendship wreath with traced cutouts of their hands. We also upheld a long-held tradition of playing water games and eating popsicles and watermelon on the final day of VBS.