We thought we were going to have to cancel it, just like another local congregation did for theirs. This summer’s Vacation Bible School, held at St. George’s and sponsored by both Church of the Ascension, Lexington Park, and St. George’s, Valley Lee, was on the calendar for a while. Our congregation’s VBS coordinator and, all around, VBS cheerleader was getting stuff ready. The starter kit was purchased, and plans were being made. The roadside banner was ordered, and the website set-up.
But no one was registered. A few registrations started to come in in the past month or so, one after another. But just a few. A bunch of our congregation’s regular kids and families were busy that week, they said, or they couldn’t otherwise commit to attending. Some were out of town on vacation or work trips. Should we cancel, too, we wondered?
Instead of cancelling, we decided to expand it. I told the VBS coordinator that I, for one, was ‘all in,’ and even if we had just a handful of kids it’d be well worth it. I was looking forward to a great week of formation and fun – and looking forward to helping touch the lives of those whom we know already, and those whom (I hoped) we didn’t yet know. Instead of 9 am to noon, or during the evenings, as some congregations tend to do, we even expanded the whole day, starting at 9 am and running to 3 pm – and leaving time for the parents to drop off the kids beforehand and pick them up anytime after the close-up time. Lunch and snacks were provided, we told the parents.
Our local postmaster inspired this idea last summer, at least in my head. “Why don’t you guys have a day camp?” she asked me last year, admitting that she was looking for a safe and positive place to bring her two children during the days and, plus, she drives past our church every day on her way to the Valley Lee post office. My answer made sense to me, and it’s probably what a lot of church leadership says: “It’s too much work and we don’t have the capacity to pull off a day camp.” Like I said, that answer made sense to me and, to boot, it was technically correct. But it’s not the answer she was looking for, nor is it, I think, a satisfactory statement on the part of the Body of Christ.