Bible school takes kids for a walk in the clouds
As a stranger stood by the side of the road with his broken-down car, another man immediately stopped to help.
“He helped him push his car out of the roadway,” Caroline recalled.
By witnessing such random acts of kindness, a sunset, or a laugh with a good friend, each of the 200 children attending Orchard Christian Fellowship's Bible school this week got a little bit closer to his or her faith, church volunteer Mary Calawa said, encouraging her young charges to share their own “God sightings” with their peers.
“You can trust in God no matter how bad you're feeling,” she told the children.
With more than 150 adult and teenage volunteers on hand to offer support, the five-day program, which kicked off on Monday, is keeping its focus on the heavens, literally, with this year's theme, “Sky: Everything Is Possible With God.”
Orchard Christian Fellowship meets weekly at Matthew Thornton School in Londonderry. The congregation is hoping to begin construction on a new Pillsbury Road church later this year. The Bible school is being held at the former Cavalry Christian School in Derry.
On Tuesday children feasted on blue Jell-O “skies” with “clouds” made of Cool Whip and danced to upbeat Christian tunes.
Hand-painted murals, made with the help of creative church member Karen Richards, evoked images of white clouds, blue skies, balloons, birds and airplanes.
Each child wore a colorful “passport” name tag and lightblue “crew member” T-shirt while the volunteers wore navy-blue “crew leader” T-shirts.
Carrying her friendly chipmunk puppet “Chatters,” longtime church member Lisa Graham said that she has volunteered at the Bible school for the past eight years.
“It's just one way to share the message,” she said.
“She's so dedicated, she took the whole week off from work,” Ken Glasier, pastor of Orchard Christian Fellowship, said of Graham.
Dressed as a hapless pilot, volunteer Cindy Windsor adjusted her aviator goggles as she staggered onto a stage.
“I'm just not sure if I can fly,” she told the children in the audience. But with a little faith and encouragement from Mary Calawa, she soon changed her tune, bursting into a song of faith, to the delight of the kids.
In addition to fun and faith, this year's Bible school also features a group service project.
As part of Operation Kid-To-Kid, the children are collecting funds to help purchase mosquito nets to children in the African nation of Mali, where malaria claims the lives of countless citizens each year.
A program sponsored by Group Publishing, the Christian publishing company that produces many of the educational materials used in the vacation Bible school, Operation Kid-To-Kid aims to provide a mosquito net “to every kid living in Mali,” said Calawa.
“It's a very, very poor country,” she told the crowd. “But this simple net can save lives. When these kids go to bed at night, the net will keep those mosquitoes out.”
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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.