Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Anglo-Catholics Never Did VBS 

For all my love and study of anglo-catholic practices, one thing I never learned from them was about Vacation Bible School! But, what a blast I have been having this week, singing, dancing, painting, acting, teaching, and generally just being silly with the kids. Many of them have already figured out that sticking their tongue out at me is an acceptable form of greeting, so long as they are prepared to recieve it in return! The theme of our particular brand of VBS is the broadway musical "Godspell", and, more importantly, the parables of the Gospel of Matthew. Though I think the way they have many of the parables portrayed speaks more to the judgment of God rather than to the love of God in Christ, the module is decent.

One of the biggest joys of working at St. Mark's so far has been some surprising reconnections. Several of the youth group members apparently remember me quite fondly from when I was a summer camp counselor at DaySpring, summer of 2003. I was embarrassed to admit that I did not remember them, to which one said that was fine and another cried out, "I was even in your small group!" What saved me, though, is that they are teenagers, and so what they look like now and what they looked like then are not necessarily the same thing. Later, I did recall a pastoral conversation I had with one of them who had just lost a loved one. She recalled it word for word.

So, this afternoon, after VBS, I was hanging out with the youth group members who are VBS volunteers. We were working our way through a praise and worship songbook, singing old favorites (and I became 15 again, it was wonderful!). Then one of them asked a question about the Bible. Then I answered it. Then more questions. The hymn sing came to an end and a 3 hour, impromtu bible study broke out. It was fascinating and wonderful and a blessing to me. At the end of this sudden biblical fervor, at no prompting from me, they had developed two lists. One was a one page list of topics they wish to discuss with me ranging from the Bible to theology, to the perennial teenage question: sex. Another was a two page list of "lapsed" youth group members who they, of their own volition mind you, are going to call to tell them to "come back to youth group - it's going to be fun again!" They all left excited and overjoyed, and I didn't do a thing but chat with them! They make it easy on me!

Not 15 minutes later did I receive a call from an ecstatic parent, thanking me from "the bottom of [her] heart", for inspiring her daughters so. She said, "It's been a long time since they've been so spiritually excited." All in a day's work, ma'dam, all in a day's work. And what fun and blessed work it is.

I'm excited for all that is to come.



Two thumbs up, little bro. Two thumbs up. I'm proud of the work your doing and going to be doing down there.

- Sherriff

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:32 AM  

And they pay us to do this!
Thanks for reminding me of some of the real thrills of ministry.
Then, there are days like today...never mind. You will certainly have your share of those, too. When you do, remember this one - remember what it feels like to do what you are called to do, use the gifts that God gave you, and make a difference in someone's life.....that ROCKS.
P.S. I will be in your neck of the woods Sat for a few days in Ft Myers - but I do NOT want to talk about church with anyone. I need a vacation SO BAD.

By Blogger David, at 5:43 PM  

As a recent "convert" to Anglicanism/Episcopalianism and as someone who has a leftover passion for youth from my mainstream evangelical days, I'm glad to see vibrant student ministry happening at your parish. It gives me hope that something can be done, even in the Diocese of Quincy. Heh. I look forward to reading your blog more often.

By Blogger Adam Jacob, at 2:20 PM  

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