Through songs, stories, crafts and games, the more than 200 Church of the Epiphany Vacation Bible School (VBS) students were taught to trust God in all circumstances.
From June 18 to 22, students participated in a variety of activities and lessons led by Director Molly Kavanaugh and 130 volunteers at the church in Coon Rapids.
Each day of VBS started with songs in the gymnasium led by a live band of teen volunteers and a prayer led by Rev. Dennis Zehren.
Kavanaugh and volunteer Kimberly Manson said they believe having a live band is what makes their VBS truly unique, as most other programs use music from a CD.
“The freedom to be able to talk while the music is playing behind me is more powerful,” Kavanaugh said.
The live band is also going to lead songs at the VBS of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in July.
Almost all the songs the band led children in singing were focused on the VBS theme of trusting God.
Kavanaugh said she picked this theme because it focused on things that Jesus had done in the Bible that didn’t make sense at the time but made sense in the long run.
“I think there’s a lot going on where people wonder where God is, and if we wait it out we can see God had his plan the whole time,” she said.
Throughout the week students learned about five Bible stories through crafts, snacks, games and skits.
Kavanaugh said these lessons fleshed out the theme of trusting God.
Even the snacks, such as dumbbell pretzel snacks to represent strength, were meant to represent different parts of each lesson.
“No matter who we are, no matter how we feel, no matter what people do, no matter what happens, we can trust God,” students repeated at the beginning of the final day of VBS.
The majority of those volunteering had gone to the VBS when they were younger, according to Kavanaugh.
She said her favorite part of the program is seeing teens volunteer that came when they were younger and have grown in their faith.
Those wishing to volunteer had to be in sixth grade or older, which posed a problem for fifth-graders according to Kavanaugh.
“They felt too old to be a part of it [VBS] but too young to be leaders,” she said.
Kavanaugh met with parents to discuss where the fifth-graders fit in at VBS and decided to start a new hands-on program for them.
Kavanaugh said the fifth-graders are split into two groups and go a little deeper into the Bible stories.
They also play capture the flag instead of the other games younger VBS students play.
Kavanaugh said the biggest challenge in directing Epiphany’s VBS is having a registration deadline, because she doesn’t like turning away students or volunteers.
The VBS is open each year to children from the public, attending the Church of the Epiphany is not a requirement.
The price for a child to attend was $35.
Most of the supplies for the VBS are donated, according to Kavanaugh, except for the volunteers T-shirts. Those are provided through part of the parish budget.
Bethany Kemming is at firstname.lastname@example.org