Caroling in July throughout Cape Elizabeth was the mission on the final night of the Cape Elizabeth UMC's Vacation Bible School.
‘Helping Hands and Singing Hearts’
Singing for our neighbors concludes VBS
The familiar hymn “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place” carried a deeper meaning for participants in the Cape Elizabeth UMC’s Vacation Bible School on Wednesday, July 27 — a neighborly presence.
To conclude its three-night Vacation Bible School, a caravan of cars carried church members throughout Cape Elizabeth, visiting the homes of nine members of the congregation for an evening of caroling and fellowship. The hymn-singing mission was the concluding part for the 2011 VBS and its theme of “Helping Hands and Singing Hearts.”
The “singing hearts” part of the theme was obvious as the hymn-singing group stood on front lawns and sang three to four hymns at each stop, much to the surprise and delight of the residents. The “helping hands” came into play when residents were presented with gift bags filled with heartfelt crafts and greeting cards made by members of Vacation Bible School during the first two evenings at the church.
Each resident also received a plate of cookies and brownies — the cookies in the shape of a hand with a heart cut out of the center.
Judith Hill and Sue Lind were among those who prepared the "helping hands" cookies at the church on Tuesday evening.
Church organist Gail Parker orchestrated the hymn-singing adventure and led rehearsals at the church on Monday and Tuesday evenings before guiding the group of spirited singers — only three of whom were from the church choir — throughout the streets of the Cape on Wednesday.
Ginny Jordan (pink sweater) greeted Judith Hill when the VBS carolers arrived at her home. Gail Parker (right) led the singing throughout the evening.
The whole exercise was intended to reach out to neighbors from all corners of the Cape and fulfill Jesus’ lesson of “love thy neighbor as yourself.”
On Tuesday evening, Boodie Mitchell, a summer visitor to our church with her husband Jack, led the VBS gathering with the parable about the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ response in scripture to go and “do likewise” with your own neighbors. The message was poignantly delivered, well-received, and then put into practice with the house-to-house caroling and fellowship on Wednesday.
Boodie Mitchell talks to participants at VBS on Tuesday about the parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus' response that everyone should "go and do likewise" with your own neighbors.
One of the bonuses of singing on the front lawns of various church members throughout Wednesday evening was that many of their neighbors noticed and expressed their appreciation. The scope of the neighorhood mission went beyond its intended targets — and everyone benefitted with the result.
When the VBS carolers arrived at her home, Ginny Jordan joined Rev. Ruth Morrison with singing "In the Garden."
To see more images from the first two nights of the 2011 Vacation Bible School, click here:
Gift bags were decorated on Monday and Tuesday evenings before being handed out on Wednesday.
Margaret Braun works with Cayden Maxwell on one of the gift bag crafts.
Jasper Fontana pays close attention to the icing on one of the "helping hands" cookies.
Linda Wakefield colors a greeting card that will be part of the Wednesday evening gift bags.
Shirley Maxwell puts some finishing touches on a mural that will be part of the Wednesday Bible Lesson at Vacation Bible School.
Linda Wakefield works with Jasper Fontana on one of the Monday evening craft projects.
Cayden Maxwell decorates a gift bag as part of the Vacation Bible School "helping hands" projects.
Gail Parker leads a rehearsal of caroling in July as part of Monday's Vacation Bible School.
To help everyone understand a foundation of true “helping hands,” Bob and Linda Webster led a Monday evening Bible lesson on “the fruits of the spirit,” a way in which we should identify which traits of a good Christian life we see in ourselves, such as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. It was a hands-on exercise with everyone being given the opportunity to select which trait best represents their own lives and posting the results on a posterboard for everyone to review.
Linda and Bob Webster guide VBS participants through a Bible study of traits we should see in ourselves as good Christians.
Stephen Bither adds color to a greeting card that will one of the elements in the VBS gift bags.
Another gift bag element will be potted plants in decorated pots.
Katie Connelly presses a "helping hands" cutter into dough for cookies that will be inserted in the VBS gift bags.
Serafina Hubbard, with mother Carol, was the youngest VBS participant.
Megan Connelly concentrates on water-coloring a greeting card.
Coloring greeting cards was a group project.
Judith Hill prepares dough for the "helping hands" cookies.
By next year's Vacation Bible School, Serafina Hubbard will likely be participating, rather than just observing.