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Churches getting creative in holding VBS this summer

Across America, Vacation Bible School is a summer tradition. The ongoing pandemic has left many churches scrambling to find safe ways to continue VBS, giving kids access to a familiar summer activity and providing some spiritual nourishment after lockdown.

While some churches have canceled or postponed their programs, many have found ways to host programs mixing online videos with hands-on activities that children can do at home with a parent’s help, Religion News Service reported. Other churches, in states that have loosened stay-at-home orders, have made plans involving face masks and social distancing or smaller gatherings in volunteers’ backyards.

READ: Why VBS sill matters

“Families are looking for activity and engagement for their kids,” said Jody Brolsma, an executive editor at Group Publishing who leads the development of Group’s annual Vacation Bible School curriculum.“Those who are doing this are finding overwhelming support from families and parents saying, ‘We need something in the summer, and VBS doesn’t feel like school. It‘s not compulsory. The pressure to get it right isn’t the same, even if it’s happening in my home.’”

As plans quickly shifted this spring, many of the publishers behind popular VBS curricula, like Group, also created resources to help churches adapt their programs to the times.LifeWay Christian Resources, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, published an e-book detailing four strategies to adapt its “Concrete and Cranes” curriculum. Those strategies range from “VBS as usual” to virtual programs, depending on how communities have been affected by the coronavirus.

Meantime, ELCA World Hunger, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, released pre-recorded videos and modified crafts and games that changed its “On Earth As in Heaven” curriculum to “On Earth As in Heaven… At Home!

Illustrated Ministry — which creates progressive Christian coloring pages, Sunday School curricula and other resources for churches and families — released its first VBS curriculum this year.In six weeks, Illustrated Ministry created Compassion Camp, which has had more sales than anything else the company has done.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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