As I write, the unofficial Vacation Bible School alma mater, “Father Abraham,” is ringing out from the parish hall. This is one of the best weeks at the Chapel of the Cross, rivaled only in its bustling activity, by the week of Day in the Country. The songs, the crafts, and the storytelling reminds me of Vacation Bible Schools of yore growing up at First Christian Church in Meridian.
Vacation Bible School also reminds me of the second time I ever pulled up to the Chapel of the Cross on July 1, 2015. I got out of my car on a hot and humid sunny day in my new, black clerical shirt which only magnified the heat. As I got out of the car, I did a 360, turning around to take in my surroundings, trying to recollect any familiarity from the first time I ever pulled up to the Chapel of the Cross when I was a junior in high school. Finding the sign that pointed the way to the office, I stepped off the sidewalk to let a line of kids and their teacher pass by me on their way to the playground. As soon as I walked in the door that has “Offices” written on it, two kids bull rushed me, inquiring frantically where the bathroom is located. I responded that I had no idea, but when they found out, please let me know.
As I settled into my office, the activity continued. On the sidewalk in the courtyard outside my office, children were on the move from one place to another. It was as if someone had kicked an ant hill. There was laughter coming from the parish hall, paired with adult voices trying to give directions above the joyful noise. One kid flew past my office door looking for a band aide.
I couldn’t take it anymore. My curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know what all the activity was about. I made my way into the parish hall. Some of the volunteers obviously recognized me as “the new guy” and so they introduced themselves to me and I learned a little bit about them as well. Finally, I asked one of them, “Is this the Mothers’ Morning Out Program?” They laughed and responded, “Oh no. This is Vacation Bible School!” I joined in the laughter and said, “Of course it is. That makes a lot more sense. My first day here would be during the middle of Vacation Bible School!”
And so, that’s how I was welcomed to the Chapel of the Cross: by the children of this church and community and the many dedicated volunteers who so lovingly and willingly give of their time and talent to create a safe space where our children may grow in the love and knowledge of our Lord, and I will never forget the welcome they gave me. The sights and sounds of Vacation Bible School two years later are just as exciting as they were the first day I arrived at the Chapel and much of this is due to our many volunteers. So, as the dust settles on another year, remember to thank a volunteer for another successful Vacation Bible School at the Chapel of the Cross!