MARCO ISLAND — Some of our northern friends may think the houses of worship just about shut down when they are not here. The worship services and Bible studies become more intimate and many are busy with vacation Bible school (VBS) and youth trips.
As the Church Lady travels from one VBS to another she can’t help but notice the sheer joy of it all; singing, dancing, cheering, working as a team and just plain old fun of learning about God together.
The folks at New Life Community Church hosted the “Shake It Up Café: Where Kids Carry Out God’s Recipe” VBS from July 18 to 22. Each day they celebrated a Biblical festival and leaned the day’s secret ingredient: Be ready for God, give happily to God, believe fully in Jesus, remember Jesus often and to celebrate God forever. The skits, songs, storytelling, snacks and science experiments all built on and emphasized the theme of the day.
“God has given me a heart for youth and kids. This is where our future is,” said Bo Booth, New Life’s youth director. He came onboard in January of this year and this was his first year directing a VBS. “It was a lot more work than I thought it would be but worth it.” His heart was touched when he saw the joy and excitement in the kids’ faces when they assembled at the different stations: music, crafts, snacks, story telling and games. He served as the master of ceremonies, complete with a chef’s hat and jacket, serving up the secret ingredient of the day and was assisted by Daryl McCulley who manned the raccoon hand puppet named Scraps. The children were instructed to cheer every time they heard the secret ingredient; their cheering became more exuberant as the week went by.
“Teaching the children at a tender age to treasure the Scriptures and to hide them in their hearts,” was the best part of the VBS for volunteer storyteller Carol Fenimore. This was the first time she has done a VBS in over 40 years and she loved every minute of it. “It (the lesson) was really deep for the kids, but they got it,” said Fenimore.
“I was touched by how quickly the children memorize Scripture,” said McCulley. “Their brains are like little sponges.”
This was McCulley’s third VBS. In addition to being the voice of Scraps she was also the snack lady and would review the day’s Bible verse with the children.
“VBS is my thing,” said volunteer Sheryl Braun. “I love VBS because I love to see the kids celebrating and learning Bible verses.” She also enjoys watching the teenage youth leaders teaching the Bible verses to the children.
“I love helping with VBS and working with little kids,” said teen Emily Orgass who was a volunteer group leader.
“The best part was learning sign language,” said teen Kelsey Taylor. “It feels good to learn a new way to communicate.” Taylor had her directing debut at the VBS grand finale for the parents and guardians on Friday night. She stood off to the side and led the children as they sang and signed all the VBS songs they had learned during the week.
Bobbie LeCroy-Lansdown experienced a powerful moment with the preteen group. The theme was “Remember Me, Jesus Celebrates Passover.”
“Watching them learn the history of communion and to hear it explained in depth, I saw looks of like ‘oh wow that’s what this means’ on their faces,” said LeCroy-Lansdown. “And then to hear them discuss how they do it in their churches it was so touching.” LeCroy-Lansdown’s first experience teaching VBS was 25 years ago and involved the Church Lady’s oldest daughter. But that’s another story.
The children could not agree on what they liked the best about VBS. For some it was the snacks, the games, the singing and dancing, for others it was the crafts, being with friends and learning about God.
There were smiles all around as the children left with their parents after the grand finale on Friday. They were each given a Lamb of God cupcake and a glow-in-the dark cross for their bedside that says, “God is love.”
Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various nonprofits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist.
Wesley United Methodist Church
Keep your kitchen cool for a cause on Sunday. Enjoy an evening out at the Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction Youth Group Fundraiser, 5 to 7 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall. The youth and parents will provide a spaghetti dinner, salad, breadsticks, beverages and dessert, including some sugar-free selections. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
The fundraiser is for youth activities including A Night of Joy at Disney World. The silent auction features donations from Marco businesses and artists and runs through Sunday. Some of the items to bid on are: restaurant gift certificates, original artwork, air boat rides, salon gift certificates, sightseeing cruises in both Naples and Marco and automotive repair and electrical repair gift certificates. For a complete list of auction items please e-mail email@example.com
Marco Presbyterian Church
Women’s Summer Bible Study, “Discovering the God of Second Chances” 9 a.m., Fridays. The study based on the book “Discovering the God of Second Chances” by Kay Arthur and Pete De Lacy will focus on four Minor Prophets—Jonah, Joel, Amos and Obadiah. Newcomers and experienced Bible students will find insight and inspiration as the authors highlight the striking similarities between the twenty-first century and the times of these prophets. Books are $7 and are available at the church. For information contact Bonnie at 389-0759.
The Classic Summer Book Club for women continues. Mothers and daughters are encouraged to participate. The group explores how the main characters discover what it means to be a woman of God. The Book Club discussion begins at 5:30 p.m. The final book is “Emma” by Jane Austen on August 9, with an optional trip to Brambles Tea House. For meeting places and information call Meaghan at 776-4781.
New Life Community Church
Believercize for women, 10 a.m., every Friday. Free. Information call Bobbie at 250-5147.
Alcoholics for Christ, a ministry for victory over addictive lifestyles, meets 6:30 p.m., Fridays in the fellowship hall. For information call Mike at 313-530-3395.
Marco Lutheran Church: Splash, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Sundays in the Family Room. Parents and children from birth to five years old gather together to learn about Jesus and meet new people as they are equipped to be their child’s spiritual leader. Parents will receive take home tools to provide practical ways to reinforce what was learned during the session as well as a free “The Big Picture Story Bible”.