by Tim Boyer
A long time ago, in the year of 2020, before the Sahara Dust Storm, before Murder Hornets, before a 4-month long quarantine with a worldwide pandemic, before the unknowns of Spring Break, and before we ever heard of Social Distancing it was…January. January 2020.
It seems so long ago that I was sitting in a planning meeting for a Vacation Bible School. It was going to be the first time in a while that our faith community of St. Paul’s had opened its doors to neighbor kids for VBS.
I was pretty excited as we continued to meet throughout the next few months. I was preparing for what the décor would be, going with the theme, and had really been anxious about putting together a VBS that didn’t come across as outdated or prepackaged.
Then came March. I had no idea what was coming ahead. We left the office on March 13th and the day had been eventful, to say the least. Going home that day I had no idea I would not be coming back to my office to work until around the end of June; now.
As things progressed with COVID 19 and our lives were changed, many forever, I, along with many were scrambling to think of how to do ministry with no buildings, no social gatherings, no personal contact, and very limited knowledge of anything virtual.
The months went on and we, the Ministry Team of St. Paul’s, were dedicated to not losing our community of faith, even if the odds were ever against us. Sometime in those months of quarantine (they all run together) the idea of Virtual VBS was spoken. I had no idea how the word “Virtual” and the acronym “VBS” could ever go together, even if just a brief comment.
I would write down a few things on paper every once in a while about an idea of maybe seeing how we could pull together a VBS that was not in person, that was not in a building, that was not a social gathering, but one that might be through a computer screen.
The idea progressed and began to take on a life of its own. A breathing, ever-changing idea that we thought we might be able to pull off. Little did we know how much work our little idea would create.
I find it a little funny today. I was not laughing Thursday of last week though.
Born out of my personal favorite book, Color Blocked, we put it out there…”Virtual VBS, Register Now.” I had no knowledge of how I would get what was in my head to actually become tangible. However, with great partners in ministry, the team at St. Paul’s was able to create my vision.
So, Color Burst: A Virtual VBS was born.
The week was amazing! Oh how God worked in and through our Team and through technology. I got to meet some of the most fantastic kids from all across our state. While delivering supplies door-to-door to all who registered, I got to meet many of the kids who would join us each evening at 6:30pm on ZOOM, to reinforce what they had watched and participated in that day.
OH, the fun we had. We danced, we sang, we created crafts, we heard the telling of scripture, we enjoyed story time, we learned about different emotions that our Creator has given to us, and all based on a color of the day. We started with the color red, the color of Anger and Courage. We got to hear about Jesus flipping over tables in the temple. Then we experienced yellow. Anxiety and Positivity were discovered through the old classic song, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.
Wednesday, we adventured into Orange; Selfishness was understood with the Story of Jacob and his pursuit of his brother’s birthright while a study of Barnabus taught us about Encouragement. Blue was the color of Trustworthiness and Unfriendliness. Trust Bracelets helped us to remember to trust God. Of course, how can we talk about emotions and not be Refreshed and Renewed on Friday? We sure made a Joyful Noise with our lungs that day. Oh, and did I mention we all got t-shirts that started in just black and white? By the end of the week we had some fun, bright tie-dyed t-shirts.
15 children signed up and attended Color Burst Virtual VBS 2020. I enjoyed all the kids I got to meet, and I look forward to seeing them sometime in the future. I know that they are going to do marvelous things.
Thank you to all the wonderful help and partnership I had to make this happen. Thank you to Trish Lenora, and Steve & Sharon Reese for all the fun songs and of course, The Emotional Hokie Poky. Thank you to Mandy Hillhouse and Patty Ruth Hillhouse for baking up some wonderful cookies to treat us with. Thank you to Ann and Jeremiah Lockhart for delivering to children south of I-40 in Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties. Thank you to McKenzie Boyer and Aidan D’Amours for not only tie dying t-shirts but also themselves. Thank you to Tate Monroe for sharing with us the stories of scripture and how we see our emotions. Also, to Tate Monroe who became our videographer and created such a great video each day. Thank you to Rev. Dr. Tiffany Nagel Monroe for sharing the duty of Story Time each day, and thank you for all the support that you gave to me when I was overwhelmed.
I especially thank the parents, who trusted us with their kids. I pray for each child, that they felt the love of God, and experienced something new with a courageous, open mind.
Now, 2020, settle down cause, well, we all said so. (In my best parental voice.)