June 6, 2014 / Sarasota, Fla. — Young participants in the Church of the Redeemer's Vacation Bible School (VBS) this August will learn lessons about “Loving God and Loving Our Neighbors” by dedicating time and talent to help others in need. The VBS group is excited about it: making sandwiches each day for “neighbors” at Resurrection House; collecting clothes for children in Salvation Army’s Transitional Living program; preparing materials for Redeemer’s Episcopal Thrift House; gathering food for the Caritas Food Pantry; and collecting desperately needed bed sheets and blankets for a surgical mission team that visits Central America to correct cranial and facial issues for those who never dreamed of such blessing. Redeemer, located at 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, runs its VBS week 9 a.m.-noon Mon.-Fri., Aug. 11-15. Adults throughout the community are invited to enroll their children who are age 4 (by Sept. 1) through those entering the fifth grade. Registration is $10 per child, with some scholarships available.
This year’s Vacation Bible School takes as its inspiration from the Great Commandments: “Love God, and Love Your Neighbor,” which are depicted in one of the church’s beautiful stained glass windows. With the “feeding the hungry, clothing the shivering, caring for the sick, and welcoming the stranger” in as direction, all of the church’s Vacation Bible School activities will revolve around service to others.
“Every day, our Vacation Bible School students will be reaching out to those in need, both here in Sarasota and across the globe,” said 2014 Vacation Bible School chair Margaret Barnes. “Everything produced each day will go to help someone in need. It will be an incredibly powerful experience for the children.”
The focus on service to others is a recurring theme for Redeemer's VBS. "Each year, we intentionally focus our young students on being Christ's light in the world," said Jacki Boedecker, Redeemer’s director of Christian education. "In years past, we’ve literally helped God’s people in need around the globe. This year, we will be “good neighbors” to those in Sarasota. It's Redeemer's way of instilling an early ability to recognize need and share blessings."
On Sun., Aug. 17, the young Vacation Bible School participants will join in "VBS Celebration Sunday," which includes presenting the anthem during the church’s 9 a.m. mass. All children are invited to bring their school backpacks to church that Sunday, as Redeemer’s associate rector, the Rev. Richard C. Marsden, will offer a special blessing for each child as they begin a new academic year and will lead the congregation in a special “Blessing of the Backpacks.” The service will be followed by “Sundaes on Sunday,” a celebration in Gillespie Hall.
Advance registration is recommended and may be completed, with payment via PayPal, securely online at redeemersarasota.org. For questions about scholarships and alternate registration methods, call 941-955-4263. The Church of the Redeemer is a traditional Episcopal parish located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, 222 S. Palm Ave. To learn more about the church, or Vacation Bible School, visit redeemersarasota.org or call 941-955-4263.