The sun has set on FUMCFW’s first ever virtual VBS: Knights of North Castle. Although we’ve all put away our Swords of Peace and Breastplates of Justice, the lessons of love learned this week are sure to last a lifetime.
Mister Mark, Janice, Queen Amber, and our entire VBS team created some incredible content for the 300 children who attended this year’s Virtual Vacation Bible School. There was a lot that had to be re-imagined since no one here has ever put together a virtual VBS before.
The Children’s Ministry team along with parent volunteers handed out VBS care packages to the 300 children who participated the week before VBS began. Each family arrived in their cars and pulled up to the church to our masked Knights of North Castle who greeted each person individually – creating a nice personal touch to an otherwise socially isolating time. All of the VBS bags were filled with daily, age-appropriate, crafts and activities, a VBS t-shirt, and a music CD!
Creating this content and making it available to all of the kids in the program was no easy feat, and it took a tremendous amount of coordination and collaboration to get the job done. Collaboration between Ministries, collaboration between the volunteers, and creative collaboration all around!
Mister Mark explains one specific memory from creating this content, “There was one moment during the video shoot of the puppets when Austin, Ed, Trevor, and I were all trying to figure out how to make our dragon puppet, Sparky, fly. We kept bouncing ideas back and forth until we came up with something…and it worked.” He continues, “That kind of interaction is my favorite. I felt like I was flying the rest of the day!”
But all that hard work was not without its difficulties, “In doing all the video work without any of the live interaction we would normally have with in-person VBS the energy loop created by all of us being together just can’t be replicated virtually.” Mister Mark says. “The challenge for me was to try to remain as authentic as possible in the hopes of connecting.”
And connect he did. The daily feedback from the families and kids participating this year was tremendous. “Kids were watching the videos multiple times each day; the timing was flexible so families could participate when it worked best for them. Everyone was blown away by the quality.” Mister Mark continues, “Unlike other virtual things I’ve been a part of in the past, our 2020 VBS didn’t seem to lose any steam.”
It is clear that the message rang true in the hearts of all who participated. Each day, even though the medium was virtual, these kids were left with real lessons and messages of “Truth, Justice, Peace, Faith, and Salvation.”
More than anything, Mister Mark says, “I want the kids to remember they are real, they are loved, and they are a part of something. VBS may have been virtual, but the love is very real.” He continues, “And I want the parents to know that we can do this. We ARE doing it — connecting and being the church, even in the challenges of this pandemic.”
To all those who participated, to those who handed out VBS bags, to our puppeteers, our Communications and A/V team, to our volunteers, and everyone who played a part in bringing this message to our First Church family, “Thank you!” True Knights of North Castle know that we all need to work together in order to make big ideas become a reality.