Sympathy Notice: Rev. Allen R. Campbell
Rev. Allen R Campbell, retired member of the Northern Illinois Conference, passed away Friday, November 10, 2023. During his ministry he served Grace: Elgin; Peotone; Rochelle; and Mare…
First UMC in Des Plaines had a good time at VBS Hero Hotline as they served God together. During the four days, 18 children (called Heroes) learned some Old and New Testament heroic stories. The children learned about where the stories came from – the ultimate Hero Handbook – the Bible! Professor and Super Meer reinforced that answering God's call together means striving for the things that bring peace and build each other up. The VBS Heroes are called to continue to Follow Jesus, Help Others, Work Together, and Listen to God.
Children and adults at First UMC in Evanston had "gone wild" at "Faith in the Wild" Vacation Bible School. They explored and enjoyed Evanston's ecology with daily outings to Lunt Park, Lake Michigan, Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, and the Evanston Ecology Center Food Forest and Apiary. Special guest visitors such as Evanston Public Library's Martha Meyer, founder of the Blueberry Awards, and their own Pastor Britt Cox have helped open campers' eyes and imaginations to the many ways that time in the "wilderness," wherever we are, can help us adjust and attune to God's presence. After a wild and wonder-filled week, the adventure of becoming as fully human as Jesus by loving others as we are loved has just begun.
Kingswood UMC's VBS was held at their Buffalo Grove campus hosting children from both Buffalo Grove and Deerfield. The theme was Changing Gears. With the robot theme they learned about how Jesus changes us. The evening started out with dinner and games. The special mission section the children learned about the Food Pantry housed on site and local animal rescues. They then participated in a week long friendly competition collecting non-perishable food and pet supplies.
Hinsdale UMC hosted its annual Vacation Bible School, with a Hero Hotline theme. It reminded campers and leaders that we all are heroes striving for peace and building each other up. The guests proved just that point. The church's relationship with Elim Christian Services continued this year with seven clients visiting and helping kids in the rotation stations. Other guests included seven ferrets from Greater Chicago Ferret Association accompanied by Ethel Rodriguez. Jen Dean presented The Lovey Project which engages children in foster care providing a fun plush lovey. Rachel Weaver-Rivera melded her professional art skills with her experience in trauma counseling to engage VBS kids in artistic self-recognition.
Maple Park United Methodist Church in Chicago started their VBS with a Movie Day kick-off spearheaded by the United Women in Faith. They had 20 adult participants that included instructors, assistant instructors, monitors, gardeners, and cooks. Throughout the two weeks, there were 15 children ranging from grades kindergarten to eighth grade. Programming included Bible-based healing class, community gardening, music, budgeting, anti-bullying, dance, art, etiquette, jewelry making, oratorical expression, movie time, and meals that included breakfast, lunch, and a snack. The theme was Laugh, Learn, Grow. It gave the children an opportunity to make connections with the earth through gardening. It also gave the children an opportunity to be themselves while learning to better themselves.
In late June, the Tri-City Methodists teamed up for a combined VBS experience. The churches include Geneva UMC, Baker Memorial UMC in St Charles and Batavia UMC. They used the VBS program "DEEP BLUE" from the Grow Curriculum. The kids became S.E.A Agents. "Share your Story, Extraordinary Gifts, and Acts of Faith". A fun time was had by all as they learned about Moses and the Parting of the Red Sea, Jesus Feeds the 5,000 and Jonah and the Whale.
Gary Memorial UMC in Wheaton's VBS theme was an out-of-this world adventure with Stellar. The campers raised $550 for Gary Church’s Educate a Girl/Change the World mission. Campers had a big incentive to exceed their goal: Christy Grace volunteered to have a bucket of water poured on her head, and Carter Gaul volunteered to have twinkies smashed in his face! Thank you to the campers and Christy and Carter for raising funds for scholarships for girls around the world.
Apple River UMC's VBS theme was Peacebuilders, which was created by a local teacher and parishioner. Every day they explored peace with Jesus through story, art, exercise and even snack time: what peace is, what it feels like, how we model it, and how we mend relationships with it.
Faith UMC in Freeport celebrated VBS in late July and early August with their Day Camp. The theme was "We are all connected. Participants donned matching rainbow tie-dye shrts. They participated in many activities that even included a pool party. Day Camp is a continuation of Wacky Wednesdays, weekly Wednesday activities that kids are invited to all summer.
Christ UMC in Rockford celebrated VBS with Super Heros Hotline. Activities include games, science lab, assembly, devotion, and a superhero photo booth. Tent time is a favorite class in VBS. They collected for Hoo Haven, a volunteer organization that rehabilitates and releases sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.
Scales Mound UMC’s VBS was Hero Hotline. They had more than 50 kids and 10+ faithful volunteers during their VBS week. The kids learned about heroes of faith in the Bible and talked about how they could be heroes of faith by calling on God. They also raised money and brought food for a local food pantry.
Grace UMC in Dixon celebrated VBS with F.R.O.G ( Fully Rely On God) camp. It was a heartwarming experience centered on sharing the message of God's Love. Through a blend of games, crafts, cooking, and communal reading, they reached out to children who may not have prior exposure to church. The camp focused on instilling values like courage, kindness, and embracing differences, all while fostering a sense of unity among participants. By incorporating these teachings into relatable stories, they illustrated how God's love can be an integral part of our lives.
Erie UMC celebrated VBS with the Food Truck Party. They had 46 children and a ton of helpers. A total of $675 was raised for the Erie Food Pantry, the local food pantry.
Kaneville UMC held its 3rd annual outdoor VBS the last week of July. As the eighty Knights of North Castle learned Bible Stories, thirty adult and youth leaders helped them remember their castle call. Walking from the outdoor worship space to the parsonage garage, tents to the rec field, and the church basement was easy while the weather was dry. Wednesday's storm brought the whole experience indoors, and the four big classes had to share space in new ways. Friday, the parents and grandparents watched the classes share music and heard short speeches from the older class.
Oregon UMC celebrated Stellar VBS and had out-of-this-world fun! They hosted with St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The 40+ kids for brought the energy and curiosity, the teens for lead the crews, and the volunteers and leaders gave of their time and talents. In addition, they had collected offerings during the week to go to Operation Kid-to-Kid which provides Bibles across the globe for children written in their own language. The week was kicked off by worship in the park followed by a delicious pot luck lunch and kick-ball.
At First UMC in Princeton, Professor Noord and Super Meer ran the Hero Hotline. Campers created super hero shields and binoculars. The kids learned about heroes of faith in the Bible and talked about how they could be heroes of faith by calling on God.
Rochelle UMC used the "Hero Hotline 'called Together to serve God!'' theme. There were 21 volunteers helping and 28 kids that attended at the evening VBS that started with a meal. There were crafts, science, bible lessons with skits, music, and games. The program was based on Romans 14:19 "So let's strive for the things that bring peace and things that build each other up."
Wesley UMC in Sterling held their VBS in the mornings that ended with a Friday evening celebration. The theme was Pirates of Possibilities and included lessons/activities about Jonah and the Big Fish, Noah’s Ark, the Parting of the Red Sea, and Paul’s Shipwreck.
Steward UMC celebrated VBS with the Pets Unleased theme, where Jesus cares "fur" you. In addition to bible stories, singing, snacks, and crafts, the kids were able to interact with pets both stuffed and live.
Share with us by sending information and photos to LSmith@UMCNIC.org. We will update the story as we get more information.
Northern Illinois Conference's Board of Church and Society joins the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society and other faith groups and communities in cal…
Rev. Eugene L Carter, retired member of the Northern Illinois Conference, passed away Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
Looking for a bit of a financial boost to help get a ministry off the ground? Healthy churches look for ways to share God’s love with their neighbors in practical ways.…