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A Different VBS

Cokesbury United Methodist Church provided an opportunity for children and youth to participate in a different type of Vacation Bible School Saturday at Fox Pond Park.

“We are taking the vacation out of Vacation Bible School,” Rev. Dennis Peay said. “It’s an effort to practice what we preach.”

Children came to the park and practiced giving back to the community and environment by cleaning up trash, raking and creating a more beautiful surrounding for people to enjoy. They also had fun and fellowship through music, singing, a prayer walk, games and a picnic lunch.

“When we clean up we’re helping the earth,” said Ellie Atkinson, who starts third grade next month. “I saw a bottle when we were driving in and I can’t wait to go pick it up.”

The message of this particular Vacation Bible School program coincides with a sermon series Peay has introduced to his congregation. The series includes a message that emphasizes what it means to be a disciple.

Cokesburry United Methodist is a 227-year-old church which began seeing worship attendance dwindle two years ago.

“There was not a lot of direction on what the vision of our church was,” Peay said. “I was introduced to a program called ‘Abide’ through denomination leadership.
The program is based around the thought of making an impact on members in your community. It made me start thinking about if our church were to close down today, would the community notice?”

Currently there are 12 other churches in Eastern North Carolina that participate in the Abide program.

In an effort to spread the message embedded in this program Peay refocused the theme of this year’s Vacation Bible School.

“With children it’s easy to transition their thoughts. They are perhaps the best voices to preach this message because they speak with an unfiltered innocence,” Peay said.

When asked what he was most excited about Drake Hobgood, a rising third grader, responded with, “praying, singing, songs, and having a picnic.”

Peay believes children are excellent candidates to spread the message of strengthening community.

“They’re open-minded, and I see them as our now,” said Peay.

He added children are not only the faces of the future, they are the voices of now.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.

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