I write this article during our Vacation Bible School week.  It has been a joy to see and hear children learning, singing, and creating at Compassion Camp.   I am so thankful for all the youth and adult volunteers who have made this opportunity possible for the children of our church and community.  Hannah O’Brien and Katie Rainey have done a lot of work in leading and organizing the VBS program, and all our adult leaders have done outstanding ministry in the areas of crafts, music, storytelling, and recreation.   Appreciation also goes to the groups and individuals who have provided meals for VBS, as well.

One of the Bible passages that the children worked with comes from Romans 16.   Chapter 16 of the letter to the Romans does not sound like a “Vacation Bible School” passage upon first reading.   The chapter consists primarily of Paul thanking the many leaders and workers in the church.  Paul says, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:1-2).   Paul goes on to provide instructions for greeting many other people who lead and work for the church of Christ.   I have always found this passage interesting because it gives us a window into the personalities within the early church.   We are given names and some details about who worked and led the church.   One detail we learn is that Paul had a “church mom.”  In verse 13, Paul says, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also.”   I know that many of us have or had “church moms and dads”—people who have guided us, taught us, and loved us through the years.   Those people who have given us and shown us compassion and lovingkindness.     That is what is important in our faith journey.  We walk the Christian life together.   Our children watch us in the way that we live our faith.  It is in the relationships that we grow closer to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  At Unity, we have a wonderful group of children and young people who need your prayers, your support, and your lovingkindness as they begin walking their faith journeys in this life.

On August 21, we will finish our celebration of August 13th with a lovefeast focused on our children.  We will not use normal buns and coffee; however, we will be serving cookies and lemonade for our service.  The music and the message will be geared toward our kids.   During the service, we will have an opportunity to pray for our children as they begin a new school year.  After the service, our Unity Kids and their families will be invited to the Fellowship Hall for a pizza lunch.   Later in the afternoon, the Unity Kids will be going to the Moravian Children’s Festival at New Philadelphia.   I encourage you to mark your calendars for the special lovefeast service on August 21.   Let us worship together that day and let us also surround the children and youth of our church in prayer and support as they begin another year of education!

In Christ,

Pastor Scott Rainey