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Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
11827 Canon Blvd., Suite 101
Newport News, VA 23606-3071
757-423-8287 Main
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Virtual Vacation Bible School

Amazing Stories, Unexpected Storytellers

A group of formation leaders from our diocese's Christian Education Network (CE-Net) developed a free virtual VBS program called Amazing Stories and Unexpected Storytellers that is highly flexible in both context and execution. Amazing Stories and Unexpected Storytellers is designed to adapt to the needs of parishes and congregations as well as individual families. It can be led for groups via Zoom, Facebook Live, or some other virtual meeting platform or simply be led by families at home.
 
The program design was inspired by the books A Spy on Noah's Ark and The Spy at Jacob's Ladder by Lindsay Hardin Freeman. We are thankful that the publisher, Forward Movement, has given us permission to use video readings of these stories through August 31, 2020. Freeman's books share the Bible stories from the perspective of an unexpected voice rather than the narrators we are used to hearing. If you are interested in learning more about the books visit www.forwardmovement.org
 
Amazing Stories and Unexpected Storytellers consists of three segments/sessions - each segment features three storytelling videos (view on the Diocese's YouTube channel), crafts, recreational activities, science experiments, and outreach/mission challenges. The three segments include:

  1. FAITH - God Calls Us to be Heroes explored through the stories of Miriam, David, and Deborah.
  2. HOPE - Jesus with Us explored through the stories of the Woman of the Well, Jesus Calms the Storm, and Jesus Feeds the 5000.
  3. LOVE - Lead with Jesus explored through the stories of the Last Supper, Dorcas, and Pentecost.

Whether you are a formation leader leading the program virtually or a parent using the program in your home you can use whatever components best meets your needs.   There is plenty of content included to provide for a more traditional but virtual one-week program, multi-week program, or the stories can be stretched out weekly over the course of the summer or the user can create any variation in between.

Amazing Stories, Unexpected Storytellers, ALL Segments

Amazing Stories, Unexpected Storytellers, Segment 1

Amazing Stories, Unexpected Storytellers, Segment 2

Amazing Stories, Unexpected Storytellers, Segment 3
 

Bible Story Videos

Virtual VBS 2020 playlist - you can access all of the VBS videos in this one location

Individual VBS  Videos:

Segment 1:

The Baby in the Bulrushes - as told by the Bullfrog

David: A Rock in the Right Place - as told by the Slingshot

Deborah: Charging for God - as told by the Stallion

Segment 2:

Woman at the Well: Sparring with Jesus - as told by the Water Jug

Jesus, Master of Wind, Waves and Fear - as told by Gordy the Fishing Boat

Food For Me, Food For All - as told by the Ant

Segment 3:

A Feast with Jesus

Dorcas: Her Finest Hour - as told by the Sewing Needle

How the Church Came to Be - as told by the Wind

Stories in the videos are read from "The Spy at Jacob’s Ladder and Other Bible Stories From the Inside Out" (copyright 2018) and "The Spy on Noah’s Ark and Other Bible Stories From the Inside Out" (copyright 2013), both written by Lindsey Hardin Freeman. All rights reserved. Used by permission. The books are available at www.forwardmovement.org.

Virtual VBS Theme Song

Click here for the Virtual VBS Theme Song, written and performed by William M. Koger.  --- "Hi, my name is William M. Koger. I am a music major at Tidewater Community College and dream of being a music composer for film and TV. When I was young, the songs I learned at church and on Christian videos made a huge impact on me, often even more than the lesson words. That's just how I'm wired. I hope to get the kids energized for VBS; you can get moving even with the virtual VBS program."

William

We'd love your feedback
If you use Amazing Stories and Unexpected Storytellers this summer the planning team would love to hear how you used it in your setting. If you have questions about the program contact Lynn Farlin, Canon for Formation (lfarlin@diosova.org), or CE-Net Co-Chairs, Vicky Koch (vkoch@stpaulsnorfolk.org) or Gizelle Moran (gizelle@trinity-portsmouth.org).
 

Suggested Book List

When five Christian formation educators were asked to share the titles of their favorite “go to” faith based book for children, these are their choices. If children are interested in exploring books about Jesus, God, the Bible, faith and Holy Eucharist this list is a great place to start.
 

Other Virtual VBS options

If you would like to explore other virtual VBS alternatives there are a number of options available from various vendors. Many of these programs offer two distinct fee structures for families and church use.  

  • Noticing God in Creation is a free VBS developed by The Rev. Margie Baker, St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford, CT. The VBS Book includes short morning and evening prayer services for families, five scripture stories and five corresponding activities. The VBS Journal includes 2-3 open-ended questions for each scripture story AND each activity. The VBS Psalm Coloring Book includes verses of Psalm 148 with blank spaces for illustrations or journaling.
  • Church Publishing offers the free Summer Activity Pack for Children and Families Vol. 1. Click here to download the packet.
  • Illustrated Ministry offers a fee-based program called Compassion Camp. Click here to learn more about it. 
  • GenOn Ministries offers suggestions to modify their integrational fee-based VBS -All God's Children: The Church Family Gathers for Summer to virtual space. Click here to learn more about their program.
  • Go Curriculum has an online fee-based program with music, titled Backyard Bolt Towards Faith in Jesus.  Click here to learn more about the program.
  • Group Publishing is offering some guidance to adapt their fee-based packaged VBS programs to neighborhood VBS options. Click here to view their resources.  
  • Cokesbury is offering some resources to adapt their fee-based packaged VBS programs to virtual space. Click here to explore their resources.

 

Last Published: July 29, 2020 3:03 PM