Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

VBS During a Pandemic

The coronavirus has caused the church to adapt. In addition to no in-person worship, Sunday school, and small groups, now churches will need to adapt due to no in-person Vacation Bible School (VBS). VBS is the peak of the summer for many churches. It is an opportunity to disciple the children of the church and the community.

But, in-person VBS is likely not going to happen.

In the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, for example, there will be no in-person VBS during stages 1 and 2. There may be other denominational leaders making similar decisions. Or, maybe your local church has already started thinking about how to do VBS differently this summer.

VBS will be digital and/or at-home.

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Running on E

We are about nine weeks in with no in-person worship. Or it eight? Ten? To be honest, I don’t know what day it is. Everyday feels like a scene from Groundhog Day

In conversations with clergy and church leaders via Zoom gatherings, social media, or text messages, I’m noticing a trend. Leaders, clergy, and laity are having to adapt to how they do self-care. They know if they do not during this season, they will burn out and have very little to give when this pandemic is over. 

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A Prayer for the Church

Today would have been day two of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been postponed till 2021. I was recently asked to write a prayer as part of a project offering prayers for each day of the scheduled General Conference.

Here is the prayer:

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Devotion: Path of Grace

Growing up, I had a collie named Penny. She was a rescue. A friend of Dad’s found her in a ditch and we adopted her. I loved that dog. She was a sweet, kind, loving and nurturing dog. Penny, like so many other dogs, always knew when I needed her.

Behind our house in rural Hanover County, was a path that lead to the creek and would wind around to my grandparents’ property. Penny would accompany me on my treks though the woods. She would always walk next me, but most of the time she would run ahead of me. Then, she would wait for me to catch up before running ahead again.

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Devotion: Dirty

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NRSV).

I had done everything I could think of to do.

It was a warm, sunny day. My six-year-old self left no parts of the rural countryside undiscovered.I had trampled through the small creek trying to catch frogs. I had successfully jumped over my grandfather’s fence, which was there to keep the goats in the lot, and to keep the grandchildren out of the lot.

I carefully tip-toed bare foot inside the old shed that served as a shelter for Old Billy. I ran through the lot, dodging the piles of little, round pellets the goats had left behind. I attempted to climb up long, stringy moss hanging from the trees.

I skipped through the strawberry patch, picking a few for myself. I got as close as I could to the beehive, without disturbing their work. I climbed high up into the old pine tree next to my grandparents’ home.

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