Kids from all denominations joined this week to participate in Vacation Bible School. First Lutheran Church, St. Jude Thaddeus Church, Messiah Lutheran Church and Van Orsdel Methodist Church sponsored the five-day retreat. A little more than 90 children participated this year.
Pastors from all the participating churches took turns reading the devotional for each day.
“We have a Bible verse for each day, and each pastor is involved with that day’s theme,” said First Lutheran Associate Pastor Michael O’Hearn.
Youth leaders from Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp were present to lead the children in activities, worship and singing.
“The overall message is that Jesus is life, and we break that down for them each day,” said Lisette Langdorf, one of the camp counselors.
Children were split into two groups, preschool and kindergarten and first- through sixth-grade. All the kids begin the day together in the St. Jude Parish Center and then divide into groups. The kids rotate through four stations which include Bible study, games, arts and crafts, and Mary’s Station where they learn and study the role of Mary in Jesus’ life.
Arts and crafts was led by Randy Booth who served as "shopkeeper."
“Every day we make different projects. Today we made crosses,” said Booth. Other projects included making clay beads, sheep and planting seeds. Each project is meant to relate to the life of Jesus and Bible scriptures, explained Booth.
Each day's activities conclude at noon with worship, singing and cheers.
“The kids really like the camp counselors and the songs,” said O’Hearn. “Some of them say, ‘Why can’t we have another week?’ So it’s a good thing for them.”
Vacation Bible School provided an opportunity for kids to interact and meet others who share a common bond. Lynn Benjamin volunteered to help with the week’s activities. Her granddaughter was enrolled in the Bible school.
“I wanted her to come so she could meet some kids who have the same beliefs as she does,” said Benjamin. “I’m really happy with it.”
Tim Maroney, St. Jude's pastoral minister, coordinated the week long event as a part of faith formation activities. He explained that the multi-denominational event allowed everyone to participate together while still maintaining the integrity of their own faiths.
“I talked to a guy at the post office the other day, and he said ‘We’re doing (the Bible school) with the Lutherans?’ and I thought ‘oh boy, here we go,’” said Maroney. “But he said ‘We should have got started years ago doing that.’”
The Bible school concludes today with a program in Pepin Park where kids sing camp songs, show off their projects and discuss what they studied.