We began the process of preparing for a VBS by first seeing if our small congregation could support such an endeavour. The first meeting was called. Being the Director of Parish Education this fell in my lap. Before the meeting we heard the usual types of comments; it will be the same time as we always have, it will run during the full week, why the need for all these meetings, etc. Were there enough individuals, not only willing to teach but also those willing to be back-up teachers in case someone could not fill their slot? Did we have enough teacher aids, snack time helpers, craft helpers etc.? In order to have enough volunteers when would the best time be? How many would need to take time off work to help and was this fair to ask individuals to use their vacation time to work at a VBS? What material would we use? Would everyone be on board to come to the evening preparation classes? So many questions had to be answered before we moved forward with our plan.
It was agreed we would have the VBS the first week of August, this time suited the most individuals, and we would have it in the evenings of that week. This was something very new for this congregation who had always had daytime VBS's. I was pleased to see so many of our volunteers on board with this new time. I handed the meeting to Pastor who showed us a variety of material we could use, some of which he already owned. Again the decision was made quite quickly, we chose "Follow The Lamb" put out by Pam Dawson.
After that first meeting things fell quickly into place. Age groups were chosen by the main teachers and their material was given to them. We spent time on ideas for classroom decor, possible snacks (cookies and juice) with a BBQ on the Friday, and the crafts. A month before the actual VBS Pastor taught us the lessons and gave ideas for teaching each days material.
"Follow The Lamb" the lessons are placed in time of the early Church; we began with an Opening Worship Service using the Invocation, Kyrie and triple Alleluia. All the teachers wore togas, (white sheets wrapped to resemble these, the ladies wearing a scarf over their head during the worship)( it was too hot to keep the togas on for the whole evening), we sang the hymn of the day and Pastor gave a short devotion. Each day ended with worship in the same format the closing hymn was "Abide with me", while the children gathered for the closing worship the hymn of the day was sung and we closed with the Benediction.
First day: the Birth of Jesus, incarnation; hymn of the day "Silent Night"; craft a mosaic.
Second day: The Crucifixion, passion; hymn of the day verses 16,17, & 18 of "Jesus, in your Dying Woes"; craft a small banner.
Third day: The Resurrection, (also word of the day); hymn of the day "Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Alleluia"; craft hand held lamp.
Fourth day: The Ascension, (also word of the day); hymn of the day verses 1-4 & 6 of "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing"; craft stuff in water in a bottle (buttons, sparkles etc.).
Fifth day; Pentecost, (also word of the day); hymn of the day "Come Holy Ghost our Souls Inspire"; finish all crafts and also make a book of their colouring pages.
Having the VBS in the evening meant we had less time, we chose to have each class doing the same activity, it meant we did not require as many helpers because the teachers supervised and or helped their own classes during craft time, it did mean that I had all the children for singing together, this was extra challenging having to cater to all ages at once, this was not a good idea and will not be done in future VBS's.
For a small congregation we had 43 children registered and averaged 33. Considering there had not been VBS at our congregation for the past two years this was a good number also very manageable. A few pictures of the week.
A few of us dressed in our togas... our Pastor was poor so his outfit was short on material.
Pastor assisting during craft time.
Snack time helpers taking a short break
The awesome work done by Gloria to the doors of our Church House