Health concerns and in-person meeting restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have left many North Alabama congregations pondering how to best continue ministry with their children. One of the biggest questions has been if any type of summer programming would be a safe option. Over the last eight weeks, many congregations’ big plans for Vacation Bible School (VBS) have become unattainable.
During this time of uncertainty, a group of 25 – 30 children’s ministry leaders from churches throughout the North Alabama Conference area banded together and established a covenant to work together – smarter, not harder – to provide an accessible, online VBS. They agreed that this ministry resource would be free to any church or family and would make use of common things they could easily find in the house or backyard.
“By using our collective resources, this VBS should be a fun and unique gathering of children across our conference,” says Conference Associate Director of Church Resourcing Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain.
Over the last few weeks, this coalition of local church children’s leaders has been busy as bees working on the VBS theme and planning details. They are thrilled to announce this summer’s conference-wide virtual VBS: “Little Bugs, Big Impact: Big and Small, God Uses Us All!” The hive of VBS activity will take place online and in backyards throughout North Alabama on July 13-17, 2020.
“This virtual VBS will be the bee’s knees!” Rev. Chastain adds. “And you’ll be snug as a bug (in a rug) to know that all of this opportunity is free to any church or individual who would like to participate! Don’t let yourself get too many butterflies in your stomach, because you’ll have everything you need to know ahead of time along with videos and written instructions for everything included in this virtual VBS.”
Since this VBS experience will be virtual, it is not limited to local churches. Individuals and families are also invited to participate and to share the experience with the children in their neighborhood and even grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends’ children in other states!
“The goal of this virtual VBS is to connect with friends across our North Alabama United Methodist connection and bee-yond,” Rev. Chastain explains.
Registration to participate in the “Little Bugs, Big Impact: Big and Small, God Uses Us All!” virtual Vacation Bible School will open on Wednesday, May 20. So, if your church is looking for a VBS experience this summer or if science projects, bug scavenger hunts, crafts, Bible stories, mission projects and singing sound like fun to you and the children in your life, make a beeline to the conference website to learn more about this opportunity for children (of all ages): www.umcna.org/virtualvbs.
If you’d like more information or would like help to put a bug in someone’s ear about this experience, please contact Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 205-226-7933.