Churches take children to Rome through combined efforts
Bonner Springs youths will be traveling to Rome this summer during a time when the Christian Church was just beginning.
But this year, the group of vacation bible school youngsters headed on the imaginary journey is expected to be much larger than in years past.
That’s because this year, the First Christian Church of Bonner Springs, the United Methodist Church of Bonner Springs and St. Martin in the Fields of Edwardsville will be joining forces and combining their annual summer vacation bible schools into one.
“I have wanted to do this for awhile,” said Debbie Lohmann, youth director for the First Christian Church. “To me it’s more of a community thing. We have so many small churches that, this way, we can share resources and do a better job. It’s about the kids, not about the different denominations.”
This year’s free vacation bible school will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. July 19-23 at the First Christian Church, 148 Nettleton. Students will go back to Rome and spend time in a traditional market place. Each day, students will go to different stations in the market that include crafts, food, games and music. While learning about these historic points of reference, stories of Paul and the underground church will provide religious lessons.
Lohmann said one of the reasons she expects the collaboration of churches to work is because the teachings of vacation bible school focus on the same fundamentals of religion that can be found in many different denominations.
“(Vacation bible school) is usually an outreach,” she said. “We want to reach kids who may not know who Jesus is. It’s a way to get kids together who already have their faith with a lot who don’t belong to a church just yet.”
Lohmann expects 80-90 youths to participate in the program. Those students will then be split up into “tribes” and will be assigned a “tribe leader” that will direct the travelers to the different stations and help instill a message of faith.
Another reason Lohmann is looking forward to working with other churches is because she said the program has more adult volunteers to choose from.
“The good thing is we don’t each have to have a music leader,” she said. “For the big things, you don’t have to have so many of them so you can use your best resource for everyone.”
If nothing else, Lohmann said she expects the children to have a good time. She’s not sure what will come of the partnership, but she said she was excited to see how it worked out. It’s already made the planning process easier, she said.
“We all have the same kids basically,” she said. “It’s as they say, ‘It takes a whole community to raise your kids,’ so we should all be on the same page. Our kids are going through the same things, so we can learn so much from each other.”
The vacation bible school is open to children in preschool through fifth-grade. Lohmann said older children could volunteer as helpers, and younger children would be allowed if an adult attended as well.
“This is a trial run so we’ll see how many (kids) we get,” Lohmann said. “It could end up being big, which would help other churches that are not able to have bible school of their own. It’s not about us, it’s about the kids.”
For more information or to sign up your child, call Lohmann at (913) 441-6324 or (913) 378-6908.