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VBS goes online

T-R photo by Anna Shearer — Jennie Beare, left, and Nicki Ahrens, right, directors of the New Hope Christian Church VBS, pose with a train made to collect donations on Thursday.

While some churches have reopened their doors to congregations, many in Marshalltown are still getting creative to connect safely.

New Hope Christian Church anticipates the start of their online Vacation Bible School on June 28. According to directors Nicki Ahrens and Jennie Beare, the Rocky Railway VBS will last for five weeks and is open to kids from four years old to those just leaving fifth grade.

While it is a challenge to have a VBS online, they are confident it will be a good experience.

“The need to provide some physical distance definitely made planning this year’s VBS complicated,” Ahrens and Beare said. “The curriculum supplier that we use had some suggestions, but we were so blessed by the creativity, eagerness and flexibility of our amazing station leaders. We posed the question of ‘what do you think of an online VBS?’ and they were so quick to come up with the awesome ideas we’re implementing.”

Each Sunday or Monday parents will pick up supplies from the church like craft kits, snacks and game resources for that week’s lessons.

Videos will be uploaded to the VBS website each week, with separate videos for each station a child would visit if it was being done in person. Station leaders have put together videos to walk families through the lessons.

Ahrens and Beare are finding the bright side of a less than ideal situation.

“While we’re really missing some of the in-person aspects of VBS, we’re finding this to be a blessing,” they said. “We now have a really great platform to meet unchurched families where they are. They don’t have to make the first step to come into the church to hear the good news, but we are able to stream it right into their homes. It’s a great tool for our New Hope families to easily share and connect with their neighbors and friends in a fun, unique way.”

Ahrens and Beare noted that families do not have to attend New Hope to join VBS. It’s free to join, and new registrations are always welcome, even if it is in the middle of the program.

They hope the VBS will help families grow closer to each other as they learn more about Jesus and believe the theme is perfect for the difficult time Iowans are experiencing.

“This year’s theme, ‘Jesus’ power pulls us through’ is such a timely theme, considering the hard times most of us find ourselves in. Also, in a summer where so much has been canceled or postponed, we’re so excited to offer an opportunity to kids and their families,” Ahrens and Beare said.

Every year New Hope uses VBS to get families involved in supporting missionaries and organizations. This year they are asking for donations of money or items for Child Abuse Prevention Services, or CAPS, in Marshalltown. A list of requested items can be found on New Hope Christian Church’s Facebook page. Donations can be dropped off at the church or be done online through the VBS webpage.

For more information about VBS or to register, go to https://www.newhopechristianchurch.net/.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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