Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we
hope for and certain of what we do not see.
We have made good stride with VBS since our last posting. I would like to share our accomplishments and let you know our plan from this point as we stand at the crossroad of our decision.
Last Wednesday night at Supper, Song and Prayer we shared the background of VBS in our church community. We posed the question that should be asked of all ministries especially those with such long standing history...
Is the ministry still strong, is it vital and most importantly is it relevant? Looking from the outside in you would certainly say 'yes' to all of those questions. Our week is full of energy - children everywhere with fun, laughter, and learning surrounding them. Much work goes on prior to the week to ensure this and lays the foundation. The foundation is what we're looking at right now. We need infusion of new energy including new creativity, ideas and people. This allows for the answers to stay" yes". Amongst all the changes in our world, we then stay strong, vital, and relevant.
Does this ministry, at a minimum, work to maintain the goals and support the mission of our church? In addition is it helping them to grow? These are great questions. St. Thomas' goals include the development of Faith Formation through innovative means, the growth of parishioners in the age range of 18-30, single, coupled and with families and the strengthening of our commitment to pastoral care. This ministry relates to all three but stands out prominently in reaching out to our young families to strengthen faith formation through education and fellowship of our children and by extension their families.
We are very sure of what we hope for. Can we be certain of what we cannot see? Strong and committed faith says yes. Soin faith we have made great changes in our program and here they are:
Our program moves to the evening, 5:15 to 8:00 p.m. with an early bedtime option for 3&4 year olds. This allows for infusion of new volunteers.
Each night we will begin with a Family Potluck Dinner. This allows families to visit and ensures all participants time to have a meal before the evening begins. We'll stay in large group for opening, introduction of the bible lesson through story and music.
Four great workshops make up the rotation for the evening; Art, Games, Science, and Multi Media. We'll keep the dessert bar open and this will serve as snack.
Closing will be done in small group and this will 'bring home' the bible story and wrap up the activity for the day. It also addresses the long standing 'confusion' of dismissal in the church.
There is a vision here but we cannot see it's outcome. We have the chance to build upon a strong foundation. Here are the basic elements we need:
We need to raise a total of $1000 after registration fees. We currently have the potential of $400. Thank you to our Outreach Committee for taking the lead on this effort with their proposal of $300. And thank you to our individual donors thus far.
We need commitment of 20 adults to volunteer full time for that week. The positions are broken out this way:
6 committeemembers willing to meet twice a month in the months leading up to VBS and head up the various workshops during that week. We currently have 3
10 group leaders who work in teams of 2 with the children throughout the week. We currently have 2
4 members of the hospitality committee who will work with various families to put on the dinner each night, Monday through Thursday. Friday will be our traditional closing program with a new twist.
To open registration we will need to fill these commitments and meet our monetary goal.
All of our other duties can be filled in from there. And believe me there are plenty! There is a possibility for everyone. If you have interest and a bit of time we have a place for you.
In Jesus, God has promised to find us, and heal us and love us. God has not promised us a simpler life but an abundant one, and in that abundance we will find, not nostalgia but blessing “for blessed are those who know their need of God, for they will be given a saviour.”
Our usual time to open registration for VBS is early February. So here we are trying to make a timely decision: How shall we approach the program this year? It's always difficult to determine how to handle budget adjustments. So, I have to ask the question. What are you prepared to do? As you ponder the answer, let me share some information with you.
A Few Facts about VBS
VBS is one of the longest standing ministries of our church. It is without question the largest outreach we do for young families within our Parish and extended out to our community. If you were to look at our registration logs you would easily see that:
30% or more of the children come from our surrounding community and are not necessarily parishioners at St. Thomas. This is before taking into account that we have for many years provided scholarship slots for the Happy Workers Child Care Program.
We have ranged anywhere from 70-100 children in our week-long program over the span of 34 years. Our program is first class and has a very strong reputation within our community.
Families return year after year. Children grow up waiting for their turn to attend and after having attended for the full number of years, to become a youth volunteer.
It is extremely hard work with every bit of it paying off. It is service and it is leadership in action in our community. It is outreach to young families. Generations coming together.
We know we need to make changes. We have options available to us, ways to be more efficient, to bring new energy. This Sunday,we'll have the program options with opportunities to sponsor, volunteer and assist prior to the event. We'll take approximately 10 days to decide based on your response what our next step should be.
If you believe in the program, find a way to get involved, VOTE YES for VBS.