Vacation Bible School at Mansfield

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

Youth and adult volunteers from the Living Faith Community Church in Oregon helped paint the Mansfield Food Bank during Vacation Bible School week. In back, from left, are Associate Pastor of Youth Mat Phelps, J.J. Rutledge, Conor Ringwald, Marlee Heiken, Laura Heiken, Isaac Jorgens, Abby Rutledge and Ruth Cropp; in front, Andrew Chatfield, Lydia Arthurs, Ally Todd, Katie Champion, Evie Jorgens, Jenny Muir and Nikki Todd.(Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

The Mansfield Community Church hosted its annual Vacation Bible School July 30-Aug. 2.

This year’s VBS was a combined effort of the local church and the Living Faith Community Church from Philomath, Ore.

The theme was “Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus.” Activities each day started at 9 a.m. and concluded at noon. Snacks were provided.

The Oregon church, led by Associate Pastor of Youth Mat Phelps, brought an enthusiastic group of young people and adult volunteers. They came to share an action-packed week of games, crafts, Bible stories and memory verses.

“We connected with the Living Faith Community Church through a program that matches urban and rural churches — to bring churches of different backgrounds together,” said Nancy Harshaw, wife of MCC Pastor LeRoy Harshaw. “We think it is a very successful idea.”

The week of fun activities began each day with opening prayer, followed by crafts, stories and lessons about the need of Jesus for rescue in everyday life.

Children attending Vacation Bible School in Mansfield participate in aquatic-themed activities. Isaac Jorgens, a volunteer with the Oregon-based Living Faith Community Church, helps Delany McDougal, left, Colton Wallace, top center, and Raylen Bowen, right. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

“Each day we built on the theme that Jesus rescues us from loneliness, worry and our struggles with powerlessness,” Phelps said. “By accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he rescues us and puts us on solid ground.”

Raylen Bowen said her favorite part of VBS was “singing, dancing and playing with friends. I also learned about God. He loves us in our hearts.”

Bowen’s mother Sheianne Bowen noted that she went to the Mansfield church as a child for VBS.

“I have great memories as a kid coming to this same church and learning about God. It’s really neat for my kids to have the same wonderful experience I did,” she said. “We are so fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful program for our kids to take part in.”

During the week, a painting party was organized for the Mansfield Food Bank. With many energetic volunteers — armed with masking tape, paint brushes and ladders — they made quick work of painting the building.

Food bank Director Lori Paine said, “The young adults from the Living Faith Community Church did a fantastic job of painting the food bank. The VBS leaders wanted to teach the group about doing community projects and chose the food bank as its project. Words cannot express how thankful we are for the teens and the great job they did.”

“It’s been an incredible experience to see God working in these kids’ lives — in all our lives,” said volunteer Marlee Heiken. “I’ve enjoyed coming to Mansfield and getting to know this group of kids. It’s been a lot of fun for all of us.”

The busy week concluded with a Thursday night barbecue. Families watched their children stage a performance about what they learned during the week.

“It’s always a joy to watch the next generation learning about the good news and how faith in God will help us through the difficult and stormy times in our lives,” Nancy Harshaw said. “Having a strong relationship with God is such a blessing for me. We think VBS is a great way for young people to learn this principle.”