Children of Fenton United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School, in Michigan, raise funds for UMCOR water projects.
Fenton United Methodist Church
By Wickham Boyle*
August 16, 2012—All across America kids celebrate summer by jumping into pools and ponds, rivers and oceans. They splash and shriek and generally take for granted the richness of water in their young lives.
This year UMCOR decided to give an overarching focus of mission to the many wonderful Vacation Bible Schools that abound here at home. Of course there are swimming and games and Bible studies, but many VBS camps wanted to add a layer to the experience; they wanted to teach their campers about the paucity of fresh drinking water and the sanitary and health issues that arise from this lack.
Vacation Bible School directors from east to west came up with creative ways to get kids engaged, educated, and motivated to raise funds to help. Landon Taylor, UMCOR’s manger of Church Relations, says he received countless emails asking for information about potential projects. “People reached out asking how they could help, or which projects were the neediest, and I have now been getting emails back from them saying how much money they have raised. This is from churches both large and small, and every size in between,” Taylor said.
Some camps had ideas and just ran with them; others asked for suggestions, but many participated in raising funds and awareness about the need for clean water worldwide. Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Poquoson, Virginia, raised funds the Old Mutare wells project in Zimbabwe, and the VBS kids even made cards, which, they hope, will make it to the children so far away in Africa.
The Children’s Choir at Burke, a medium-sized church in Virginia, performed a musical with a water/Bible theme and collected an offering of $900 for wells in Africa. In Concord, Michigan, the kids raised $230, one quarter, at a time for UMCOR’s Water and Sanitation project. Amy Simpson from the Midway United Methodist Church, located in Reidsville, North Carolina, shared, "We took up an offering of a little over $200 at our VBS this year and would like to make a donation to the water and sanitation project."
In Fenton, Michigan, the fundraising efforts were directed to water projects in Kenya. According to Noreen Wood, the Christian Education director, "We used the Operation Overboard VBS and felt that the underwater theme should have a water mission. We called our mission project ‘Everyone Deserves Clean Water!’ The children collected over $500 to help other children have clean water."
If we were to pick a verse for these kids that exemplifies their work, learning, and fundraising it might be Mathew 25:35-36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in . . .”
Certainly the VBS program will be giving the thirsty something to drink and a lot to be thankful for.
Your gift to Water And Sanitation, UMCOR Advance #3020600 is a gift of fresh water for communities in need.