Flamborough churches reincarnate vacation bible schools in wake of pandemic

WhatsOn Aug 02, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Vacation bible schools (VBS) look a bit different this summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Flamborough churches to rethink the popular summer programs with many getting into the creative spirit, adapting the way they host the weeklong camps to ensure they are in keeping with health and safety guidelines and regulations.

In Waterdown, Bethel Church is putting on a drive-in bible school in the Kerns Road church’s parking lot Aug. 24-28.

“It’s something brand new, something exciting that we’re looking at setting up,” said Teresa Groen, chair of the elders at Bethel Church.

While the church considered taking a virtual approach to its VBS, it settled on the drive-in format that would see parents and their children drive up to the church to take part in outdoor activities. A stage will feature music, activities and drama based on a parable, explained Groen.

At the end of the day, each child will receive a take-home package with a craft, snack, colouring page and a suggested game.

Bethel is currently exploring the possibility of setting up a closed Facebook group, where families that registered for the program can stay connected and share photos of their crafts, among others.

The Kidz Connect program at West Flamborough’s Calvary Christian Reformed Church went virtual this year with Pastor Gareth Harker and his family producing videos for about 35 participants.

Typically, the church uses its Kidz Connect program for community outreach and partners with CityKidz Hamilton to host youth for a week of fun activities. But 2020 is far from a typical year.

“Of course, with COVID this year, CityKidz cancelled all their summer programs and we just didn’t feel we had the resources to run something,” said Harker, who added that in theory it could be done with masks and physical distancing but it would be challenging.

So the church took to the web, where Harker’s wife was instrumental in bringing Kidz Connect at Home after suggesting they create videos and send out care packages with all the materials participants would need to complete activities.

The program, which wrapped up last month, featured a teaching lesson, song and a drama component. The church received photos and videos of participants enjoying the activities from home. Their submissions were put into a slide show.

On a conference call with colleagues, Harker said that leading up to and for the duration of the Kidz Connect at Home program, “I’ve been pastor, producer, actor — everything under the sun.”

But not all churches have opted to host a bible school this year.

Flamborough Baptist Church, which hasn’t hosted a VBS for a number of years, were planning to put on an athletics camp but had to cancel due to the pandemic.

“I hope September brings some new freedoms for churches that can do something with children, so right now, yeah, we’ve just pulled back,” said Pastor Bill Thornton, whose church hosts virtual services and online youth events.

With Hamilton in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which includes loosening of gathering restrictions, there may still be an opportunity for Flamborough Baptist Church to do something for youth this month, said Thornton.

Nothing, however, is set in stone as the church may opt to take a cautious approach.

“People have been quite appreciative and quite supportive of that,” said the pastor, acknowledging, “We all want to be together.”

Flamborough churches reincarnate vacation bible schools in wake of pandemic

WhatsOn Aug 02, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Vacation bible schools (VBS) look a bit different this summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Flamborough churches to rethink the popular summer programs with many getting into the creative spirit, adapting the way they host the weeklong camps to ensure they are in keeping with health and safety guidelines and regulations.

In Waterdown, Bethel Church is putting on a drive-in bible school in the Kerns Road church’s parking lot Aug. 24-28.

“It’s something brand new, something exciting that we’re looking at setting up,” said Teresa Groen, chair of the elders at Bethel Church.

Related Content

While the church considered taking a virtual approach to its VBS, it settled on the drive-in format that would see parents and their children drive up to the church to take part in outdoor activities. A stage will feature music, activities and drama based on a parable, explained Groen.

At the end of the day, each child will receive a take-home package with a craft, snack, colouring page and a suggested game.

Bethel is currently exploring the possibility of setting up a closed Facebook group, where families that registered for the program can stay connected and share photos of their crafts, among others.

The Kidz Connect program at West Flamborough’s Calvary Christian Reformed Church went virtual this year with Pastor Gareth Harker and his family producing videos for about 35 participants.

Typically, the church uses its Kidz Connect program for community outreach and partners with CityKidz Hamilton to host youth for a week of fun activities. But 2020 is far from a typical year.

“Of course, with COVID this year, CityKidz cancelled all their summer programs and we just didn’t feel we had the resources to run something,” said Harker, who added that in theory it could be done with masks and physical distancing but it would be challenging.

So the church took to the web, where Harker’s wife was instrumental in bringing Kidz Connect at Home after suggesting they create videos and send out care packages with all the materials participants would need to complete activities.

The program, which wrapped up last month, featured a teaching lesson, song and a drama component. The church received photos and videos of participants enjoying the activities from home. Their submissions were put into a slide show.

On a conference call with colleagues, Harker said that leading up to and for the duration of the Kidz Connect at Home program, “I’ve been pastor, producer, actor — everything under the sun.”

But not all churches have opted to host a bible school this year.

Flamborough Baptist Church, which hasn’t hosted a VBS for a number of years, were planning to put on an athletics camp but had to cancel due to the pandemic.

“I hope September brings some new freedoms for churches that can do something with children, so right now, yeah, we’ve just pulled back,” said Pastor Bill Thornton, whose church hosts virtual services and online youth events.

With Hamilton in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which includes loosening of gathering restrictions, there may still be an opportunity for Flamborough Baptist Church to do something for youth this month, said Thornton.

Nothing, however, is set in stone as the church may opt to take a cautious approach.

“People have been quite appreciative and quite supportive of that,” said the pastor, acknowledging, “We all want to be together.”

Flamborough churches reincarnate vacation bible schools in wake of pandemic

WhatsOn Aug 02, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

Vacation bible schools (VBS) look a bit different this summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Flamborough churches to rethink the popular summer programs with many getting into the creative spirit, adapting the way they host the weeklong camps to ensure they are in keeping with health and safety guidelines and regulations.

In Waterdown, Bethel Church is putting on a drive-in bible school in the Kerns Road church’s parking lot Aug. 24-28.

“It’s something brand new, something exciting that we’re looking at setting up,” said Teresa Groen, chair of the elders at Bethel Church.

Related Content

While the church considered taking a virtual approach to its VBS, it settled on the drive-in format that would see parents and their children drive up to the church to take part in outdoor activities. A stage will feature music, activities and drama based on a parable, explained Groen.

At the end of the day, each child will receive a take-home package with a craft, snack, colouring page and a suggested game.

Bethel is currently exploring the possibility of setting up a closed Facebook group, where families that registered for the program can stay connected and share photos of their crafts, among others.

The Kidz Connect program at West Flamborough’s Calvary Christian Reformed Church went virtual this year with Pastor Gareth Harker and his family producing videos for about 35 participants.

Typically, the church uses its Kidz Connect program for community outreach and partners with CityKidz Hamilton to host youth for a week of fun activities. But 2020 is far from a typical year.

“Of course, with COVID this year, CityKidz cancelled all their summer programs and we just didn’t feel we had the resources to run something,” said Harker, who added that in theory it could be done with masks and physical distancing but it would be challenging.

So the church took to the web, where Harker’s wife was instrumental in bringing Kidz Connect at Home after suggesting they create videos and send out care packages with all the materials participants would need to complete activities.

The program, which wrapped up last month, featured a teaching lesson, song and a drama component. The church received photos and videos of participants enjoying the activities from home. Their submissions were put into a slide show.

On a conference call with colleagues, Harker said that leading up to and for the duration of the Kidz Connect at Home program, “I’ve been pastor, producer, actor — everything under the sun.”

But not all churches have opted to host a bible school this year.

Flamborough Baptist Church, which hasn’t hosted a VBS for a number of years, were planning to put on an athletics camp but had to cancel due to the pandemic.

“I hope September brings some new freedoms for churches that can do something with children, so right now, yeah, we’ve just pulled back,” said Pastor Bill Thornton, whose church hosts virtual services and online youth events.

With Hamilton in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which includes loosening of gathering restrictions, there may still be an opportunity for Flamborough Baptist Church to do something for youth this month, said Thornton.

Nothing, however, is set in stone as the church may opt to take a cautious approach.

“People have been quite appreciative and quite supportive of that,” said the pastor, acknowledging, “We all want to be together.”