Vacation Bible School is in full swing at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church with the theme, “Everywhere Fun Fair: Where God’s World Comes Together.” Kids from age 4 through fifth grade are learning Bible stories and verses, completing a service project, making crafts and playing games through Friday this week.
With team names such as the Jelly Donuts, Corn Dogs and Cotton Candy, 65 total children are in attendance with dozens of volunteers helping out. There are 71 volunteers altogether, serving at different times. MIPC has partnered with a homeless shelter for families, Julia’s Place, to bring five children to VBS with full scholarships. The shelter, Julia’s Place, is located in the basement of Seattle’s Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church, whose pastor provides transportation for the children from the shelter to VBS every morning.
The church is supporting the nonprofit Friends of the Children – King County by providing 99 filled backpacks for low-income, at-risk children. The VBS kids packed the backpacks full of supplies — rulers, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, binders and more — for all grades, K-12.
“The kids really got it — not all kids are lucky on Mercer Island and have school supplies,” said Kathy McDonald, the project coordinator.
MIPC raised $3,000 at its community rummage sale in May and used that money to purchase the school supplies. Target also contributed to the fund.
“We do VBS for a couple of purposes — to be an outreach, to meet our neighbors. To welcome children to discover that church is fun, that it’s for them, and that it is a place to learn that God’s love is for them and that they are all accepted. The theme this year is that God’s love is for everyone, for the whole world. Everyone is welcome,” said Jennifer Paterson, Director of Ministries for Children and Families. “It’s a chance to make new friends, a chance for our kids to know God’s love and joy … it’s a lasting memory that makes an imprint on a child’s life forever.”
The church’s gym has been transformed into a “global marketplace,” with booths of various countries such as Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.
On Wednesday, kids learned Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, with the focus on how to be a good neighbor. A skit was performed.
“God loves a cheerful giver,” Islander Marla Briggs told the children.
Children in the ‘Jelly Donuts’ and ‘Candy Apples’ groups listen to Marla Briggs during Bible time.
Cathleen Monahan helps kids use watercolors to paint masks at the South Africa booth during craft time.
Children and volunteers look on as Hana Ohta takes her turn with the piñata.
In a skit, Elena Briggs plays the traveler whose life was saved by the Good Samaritan.