This summer we are planning to resume some of our favorite experiences as a church when we host a modified vacation Bible school and our popular music and arts camp. As we are planning out how to return to some in-person events and activities, I have a lot of questions about how we will resume safely. It is with great excitement and care that we are moving forward.
The church where I work is situated on a big city block with ample lawn space for our congregation to enjoy. Unfortunately, we don’t use it nearly as much as we could. As we start to plan our outdoor vacation Bible school, we are talking about using sections of the lawn, playground, garden space, and parking lot to divide the children into classes. Instead of tables and chairs for the art class, we are imagining crafts that can be created on the grass or along the patio outside our fellowship hall. Crafts can include messy fun that doesn’t work indoors. We are focused on activities that help our neighborhood. We will pick up litter on the street around our church. We are hoping to take groceries to people who are homebound. We are excited to explore the beauty of God’s world around us on the church grounds and in our neighborhood, something we wouldn’t have focused on if we were holding VBS indoors.
For our music and arts camp, the logistics of an outdoor experience are more complicated. We learn a chancel musical each year and present it at the end of the week for worship. Since we are being very cautious about singing indoors, our plans have to change drastically. It has been exciting to think of ways we can use our church grounds as a moving stage. It will be fun to use our real scenery and natural props, like a perfect “Zacchaeus” tree, a grassy hill to emphasize Goliath towering over David, and bushes and flowers as a biblical garden. We are going to use different areas of our lawn and block to move the action from scene to scene. The logistics require more planning to include the congregation in the performance, but they will have a more active role than if they were seated in the sanctuary.
I’m looking forward to seeing kids in person. After more than a year of online ministry, we are hopeful that our outdoor plans bring peace of mind for safe and welcoming children’s activities.