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Vacation Bible School for Adults 2018: A Summertime Celebration!

During Vacation Bible School 2018, sixty- eight people celebrated a cool oasis in the desert. Ray Vander Laan led us on a virtual vacation to locations with Scriptural importance in order to learn about living in the world as Jesus’ disciples had done. The video presentations lent a reality to the disciples’ lives and circumstances that are missing when we have only the Word of the Bible to tell His story. Visual portrayals coupled with Ray Vander Laan’s descriptions brought God’s activity in the world of early Christianity into focus. Our experiences were increased through guided discussions in small fellowship groups at tables.
Hospitality was evident throughout the planning and participation in VBS 2018. Team members personally invited Lakeview friends and neighbors to join us for as much of the week as they were available. Several members of the planning team made it their mission to welcome folks arriving each day and make sure that they had whatever materials they would need. We planned with intention to reach out with hospitality during every part of our mornings together. Registration and hospitality were managed by Bev Andersen, Sally Newell, Marge McConaghy, Martha Gentry, Jan Norwood and Betty Stewart.
Reaching out was not limited to welcoming folks into VBS. Participants were invited to share non-perishable foods with Valley View Food Bank in order to replenish empty shelves, Moreover, with Betty Stewart’s guidance, VBSers decorated
more than 100 pair of flip flops purchased with funds from Mission & Outreach to provide foot coverings for veterans in need of behavioral health care at VA Hospital. Street people often do not have shoes, and this project ensured that no man or woman becoming a patient in that unit would go without foot coverings in the hospital setting.
Daily participation was flexible allowing retirees to meet the demands of scheduled visits to doctors and care for loved ones. Of the total of sixty-eight attendees, the average daily attendance was fifty-one people Monday through Friday. Total attendance increased overall by eighteen people over VBS participation in 2017. The leadership team is to be credited with inviting many people within as well as outside of our Lakeview community ensuring that more people felt welcome and included. We are prepared now to invite nearby friends and neighbors to worship with us and join Lakeviewers for social events, such as Amazing Grays and TNT.
When asked to evaluate what they most enjoyed about the VBS experience, people were quick to cite the video Bible study paired with teaching done by Rhonda Plinske. Members of the Spiritual Enrichment ministry team led discussions at tables. As our minds and spirits were being fed, we were nourished by good food and fellowship at break times. We are so grateful to Susie Briner and Bluette Henriksen who provided tasty snacks. Marva Fife and Marge McConaghy helped Susie set up.
Prior to our week of learning and fellowship, we were informed and entertained by Jon and Connie Groff who provided sketches at TNT and on Sunday at services. Their help in bringing the Word to life through readers’ theater sketches continued daily during VBS with material written by Lynn Koan who is a member at Willowbrook UMC. A number of people joined the reader’s group, including Maggie Atterbury, Kayla Carnicle, Marva Fife and Phil Townsend. Others joined in as they were needed. Many VBSers read Scripture during the time of study to help us all understand the themes of God’s work more easily.
Music was a highlight for many. Maggie Atterbury worked with others to develop a series of hymns for the day and accompanied us on piano. Phil Townsend led the hymn singing, often with Kayla Carnicle and Connie Groff joining him.
Name tags were made by Betty Stewart, and centerpieces were created by Phyllis Wilson and Gwen Kiser who have an ongoing role in decorating the tables in Smoot Hall for our collective enjoyment.
VBS 2019 will center on another of Ray Vander Laan’s video studies from the series known as “That the World May Know”. Our hope is that members of the Team for 2018 will be available! VBS is an opportunity for many to provide a spiritually enriching experience everyone can enjoy. Mark your calendars and plan to join the planning team next year so that you, too, can celebrate our summer respite and renewal with the rest of us!