Unconditional Love at First Sight
For as long as anyone can remember the third week of June has been Vacation Bible School at St. Timothy’s. This year it was an intergenerational celebration of abundant life for all building upon the “stories from the field” from the work of Episcopal Relief and Development to help 109 campers, 50 counselors and 20 adults follow Jesus by helping those less fortunate change their lives and enjoy the abundant life for all that is our Good News in Christ.
Lori Robinson, St. Timothy’s Associate for Family Ministry, has a gift for organization and an attention to the detail so important in assuring a good experience for all who participate in VBS that she is herself a pure and perfect gift to the St. Timothy’s congregation from God’s abundant life gift to all.
This year $5.00 of every camper’s registration fee which totaled about $800 was put into an abundant life for all investment fund to be given by VBS to Episcopal Relief and Development. Counselors and adult volunteers donated an additional $200 and the St. Timothy’s congregation members doubled it with an additional $1,175 bringing the total donation to ER&D to $2,125 for the kids to work with.
Each morning of VBS the kids studied bible lessons about God’s abundant gifts with a focus around clean water, soil, food, animals and the power of helping others to also enjoy those gifts. In the afternoon those lessons were applied using “stories from the Field” taken from the real experiences of Episcopal Relief and Development and the power of partnerships to help realize the Millennium Development Goals to help heal a hurting world.
After a week’s worth of study and reflection the VBS campers were asked to vote for one project from a list which reflected the MDG goals as the focus for the $1000 contribution that will be made to Episcopal Relief and Development. They chose clean water. Maybe that was influenced by the water and games section of the VBS program every afternoon. Maybe it was the stories from the field lesson of the clean water project in Nicaragua and how transforming it was for the lives it affected.
But just maybe it was the Holy Spirit at work. The gospel reading appointed to VBS Sunday was Matthew 10:40-42:
“Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
VBS Sunday is always a time of inspiration and renewal because we see Jesus in the eyes of our children and our hearts are filled with hope and joy for the abundant life God has given us.
Everyone can give abundant life to all with a gift to Episcopal Relief and Development knowing that it changes lives, raises hope, and follows the lesson Jesus taught us through every microloan to help a family buy chickens, every clean water project, every donation of seeds to plant a new harvest.
Look for Episcopal Relief and Development on Facebook.
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