Hi, I am Becka Davidson. I have been a member here for a few years and am astounded by all the activities and opportunities we have. We have some amazing things going on at Calvary Lutheran Church! We are so much more than just a pretty brick church with a cross on a hill, a wonderful pastor, and
opportunities for Sunday School and meaningful worship.
Take for example our College Care Packs ministry, which is a part of our 2019 “Thriving in Community” stewardship initiatives. These care packages, an extension of our Care and Concern efforts, are designed to help our students continue to feel connected to their church family when they are away from home.
In April, 21 of our Calvary college students were sent a card and a note saying that our congregation was praying for them as they prepared for the semester final exams. Also included in each student’s card was a scripture bookmark and a gift card. Morgan Hunkele stated that she received a "really nice card for Easter with a Starbucks gift card, for which I was thankful for!" She said that the card "was really the highlight of her week! Thanks so much!." Such enthusiasm cannot be ignored. We must take care of young adults for they are the future of Calvary Lutheran Church. One of these students may become a church leader someday or at least continue to bless one of our pews with their presence.
Plans are currently being made for a fall semester care package to be delivered in late November. You may be wondering how you can get involved in this wonderful ministry. You could offer to donate gifts that would be meaningful to students away from home for the first time. You could volunteer your time to assemble the care packages and/or write notes in cards. You also could donate money to ensure that this ministry continues beyond 2019. Donating money is as easy as writing "College Care Project" on your offering envelope. Most importantly, contact Phyllis Jessup (704-455-9430) or Susan Norris (704-788-1249), Care and Concern Coordinators, to see how you can get involved.
Think back to when you were looking at all your luggage, a wall mirror, and an empty dorm room after your family just left to go home. Remember how terrified yet excited you were? Let's turn that fear into faith. Let's be sure to let these young adults know their Calvary Family loves them, hasn't forgotten them, and that they are in our thoughts. God is bigger than all of our fears, dreams, and programs; so is the love at Calvary Lutheran Church.
Vacation Bible School – Roaring with God’s Love
By: Carolyn Mauney
I’ve been involved with VBS since my now 30 and 20 something sons were little, so it was fun to be able to observe this year’s VBS and report on 4 days that were so meaningful for adults, teens and children.
When several volunteers were asked why they thought VBS was important, most felt it was important to plant that seed of faith formation, evangelism to our community within and outside Calvary, and having fun learning about Jesus and God’s love. As Abbey Markley put it, “I think VBS is important just because it’s a chance to share the love of Jesus with the children of our community. It’s a chance to get children together for something extra special and a way to pour our church’s love into them in the summertime.” For Kristen Boone, this was a first-time experience as she’d never been to a VBS before. “Never having been to bible school before, I’m excited for my kids to have an experience that I always heard everyone else talking about when I was a kid and it’s a good opportunity to learn in a really fun environment.”
After weeks and months of preparation – it’s time.
In the moments before the first arrivals, there’s lots of activity – and anticipation. Balloons and a monkey and toucan greet all who enter, and everyone is greeted with a smile and nametag. Hallways, classrooms and the fellowship hall are decorated with a jungle theme – tree, waterfall, giraffes, elephants, hippos –and a jeep where you can get behind the wheel. A meal is being prepared in the kitchen. Last touches are being made in the rotational areas – Inspiration Station (crafts), Wild Bible Adventures (story telling), KidVid Cinema, and Stampede Sports as well as Sing and Play Roar – where everyone will enjoy singing, dancing and skits at the beginning and ending of each evening.
As children filter in, one parent from the Beverly Hills neighborhood remarked about her daughter, “She’s really excited. She used to come years ago, and we’re glad it’s back.” Excited shouts are heard: “We’re in the jungle!” as families start the evening together with a meal.
The theme of this year’s VBS is that no matter what life brings – God is Good. This is repeated all throughout VBS. If life is unfair, scary or changes – God is Good. If life is good – God is Good.
It’s the first gathering of Sing and Play Roar, where everyone learned a new song with the music leaders, danced and met Irving Carter, the caretaker of the preserve before being split into age level crews and led off by volunteers to start their evening rotation.
At Inspiration Station, the children learned about God’s love through story and crafts. The first night they learned about Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy, using a tumble drum as a prop. Those were a big hit! Each night a piece of patterned paper was wrapped tightly around a straw – each will become a bead. At the end of the week (surprise!) these 4 beads were made into a bracelet, proudly worn on the last night.
Stories about the Israelites’ captivity and slave labor, Moses’ entreaties to Pharaoh and escape to the promised land were told and acted out during the time spent at Wild Bible Adventures. Experiences included learning to make bricks like the Israelites, the plagues, being scared during the night when Pharaoh jumped out or crossing the river uses Moses’ staff to part the Red Sea. At the end of the week, the Ark of the Covenant was carried across the River Jordan on the way to the promised land and everyone picked up a rock from the riverbed on which to write a note about where God has been good in their lives to take home and remember.
Going on to KidVid Cinema, children were treated to videos of children in Zambia, Africa, who had lives that were very different than theirs. Each night after watching the video in comfy bean bag chairs and sofas, they discussed together the challenges of these children and learning how God’s love is always there for them. As the week progressed, bonds grew as children gathered to share their thoughts about the videos and thought-provoking questions with their crews.
Outside at Stampede Sports, themes were acted out in games. For example, when the theme was “When life is unfair…” one team was given an advantage over another. And then in the end, God is Good – they were able to compete equally. And have lots of fun. There was water – need I say more?
Everywhere you looked, the theme continued. Preschoolers could be seen walking like animals – cheetahs, elephants, hippos. And having fun blowing bubbles, singing and playing, all about this community and God’s love for each of us. God is Good.
All too quickly, the last day is here. As families and old and new friends gathered for the meal, children were asked if they had fun – yes! – and what was their favorite part: “Dancing!” “Stories about Pharaoh!” “Games!” “Videos!” “Food!” In other words – everything!
Why is it important to volunteer for VBS? Pastor Debbie said it best: “It helps connect with people of various ages and lets them use their gifts in various ways. Sometimes if you’re older, it helps you refresh your faith a bit to see the spark that’s in the child that you may have lost.” We are blessed at Calvary to have so many volunteers – adults and teens – willing to share their time, gifts and love of God to make this such a success. Take some time to look at the pictures of Calvary in Action at VBS in the Narthex slide show.
When children were asked on the last night what they will remember most, it was almost unanimous (and with a roar) – “GOD IS GOOD!” Now that’s something special to share at home and out in the community.
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