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Friday, July 31, 2009

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays

Alberta Birdsong the Third, aka, Birdy

Many churches celebrate summer with Vacation Bible School. VBS has been a staple of most American Children's lives, at least those who go to church or had friends who do so! I loved VBS as a kid. Games, stories, crafts, music. What was there not to like?! As I grew up, I began to volunteer for my church, leading games, sharing about missions and eventually acting in the skits. My husband is a brilliant skit writer and so summer after summer we were able to provide hilarious skits that were laced with great gags, ridiculous antics and loads of silliness. Laced throughout it all was a Biblical concept that set the tone for the day's lesson. The typical American church holds VBS for one week during the summer. 5 nights of high energy, full-on energy and fun. When we moved to Sweden, we wanted to offer a children's program during the summer, but we knew that a one week blitz wouldn't work. People don't live near by, the whole concept of VBS is quite new to those who live outside of America and so we envisioned doing a 5 day VBS, once a week for 5 weeks. The concept has taken hold and now Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays is an institution at Immanuel International Church. Two years ago we moved the program to the evening and made it an all church event. The success of that decision has far exceeded our wildest dreams as the adult and teen groups now outnumber the children! The Swedes can hardly believe that we can pull this off as the Swedish habit is to exit normal life for the month of July and that includes not attending church. But for International families, the opportunity to travel, go to a summer home, or take long vacations just isn't an option and being here can get a bit lonely and boring. Wacky Wednesday fills that void in some way.
This year, our theme is Son Rock Kids Camp. The main characters are Stoney Mountain, camp director (Doug), Alberta Birdsong the third, aka Birdy (me), Crash Cargo (Chris, our youth pastor), Candy Cloudberry, (our Children's Director), Roxy Waves, (a high school student) and Beve Kerwin (another student.) The music is electric and as we head for week 5 of our program, the kids know the words and the actions.
I love leading the music and motions. To make eye contact with the kids, to get them all excited about the great message the songs convey is very special. I am also a ham and so love to over act in the skits, being silly and getting a laugh out the audience. I also think it's great that the children of our church get to see their pastors being such silly, down to earth characters. It is a great connection for us to the children of our church and I do believe that the adults and teens eat it up as well.
It's always so much work and such a mad dash to get everything ready. And then it starts, and we have a ball, and then it ends. But I love the different rhythm it gives our summer. I love to see so many different people showing up for an experience that for some is totally new to them. I love to hear the kids shout out the Bible verse, sing with joy, love being at church and learn a little more about how much Jesus loves them. Wednesdays at Immanuel International...they are Wacky and Wonderful and I am thankful.