Four churches are coming together this week to bridge community and religion by hosting a joint Vacation Bible School.
Fredonia First United Methodist Church, First United Presbyterian Church of Dunkirk, Christian Worship Center of Fredonia and Christ Community Church in Fredonia are coming together for "Babylon Holy Land Adventure." This is the seventh year the area churches have been holding a joint VBS.
The program is through Group Publishing and features a different Bible point, Bible story and verse each day. All the Bible stories come from the Book of Daniel.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Children gather for the closing song and activities at the close of VBS each day at Christ Community Church led by Angie Bacon.
Christ Community Church has been hosting a VBS for the past 13 years, according to Angie Bacon, Christ Community Church's children's ministry director. "This has been one of the best years we've ever had," she said. "It's amazing to watch the children learn about God."
This year is the first time the First United Presbyterian Church of Dunkirk has participated. Rev. Cheni Khonje said she is thrilled to work with the other pastors.
"I find it fulfilling and renewing to work together as the body of Christ," she said. "We're united under God."
Sharon Ross of the Christian Worship Center in Fredonia agrees, saying the collective VBS is a great idea.
"I think it's awesome for us to come together, united by Christ, bringing our children together," Ross said.
Pastor Marc Samworth of Christ Community Church believes more children have been coming to the event this year. About 50 kids have been coming each day.
"It seems to have a lot more kids from neighborhoods instead of just church kids this year," he said.
Khonje agreed having a combined VBS is beneficial to the children to expand their relationships.
"It fosters kids' relationships so they feel comfortable at any parish," she said.
The program is for children pre-school aged through those entering sixth grade. Some children who have been participants in the past are now volunteering as "tribe leaders" or working in the various stations.
"We have 10 of our junior high and high school students giving back as leaders," Samworth said.
The children are placed into small groups called "tribes." Each tribe travels through various stations. The stations are crafts, snacks, games, Bible exploration and tribe time. Tribe time is when groups lead discussions amongst themselves.
One of the topics include "God Sightings," how the children can be more like God or how they have seen examples of God's work. All those involved have enjoyed working together. Khonje said she has enjoyed working with Samworth.
"It's been a real privilege to work with Pastor Marc. He's been an exceptional colleague and friend," she said. "Working with the other pastors has been a privilege."
The program runs 9 a.m. to noon at Christ Community Church, 219 Berry Road, Fredonia. It started Monday and will continue through Friday. To close out the week, on Friday at 6 p.m. there will be a dinner and ceremony for parents and other adults to attend and learn about what the children have been doing all week.
The churches will also be coming together this weekend to have a kids' tent at the Fredonia Farm Festival in Barker Common.
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