By Clayton Farmer
RICHLANDS, Va. (Sept. 20, 2018) -- In Richlands, located in the Clinch Mountain District, a common phrase heard in church and around town is “we just don’t have as many children."
While this statement may be true, it didn’t stop four area United Methodist churches from working together to put on a late-summer joint Vacation Bible School.
With a borrowed kit and decorations from Wheeler United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tennessee -- and a small army of volunteers -- the Cedar Bluff, Clearview, Richlands and Steelesburg United Methodist churches came together to work as a team on mission and outreach projects.
Each evening there were nearly 25 kids in the sanctuary and churchyard learning lessons, playing games, and singing and dancing. There were nearly as many volunteers and a very well-attended adult Bible study.
For three of the churches, it was the first VBS they had held in nearly a decade.
At the end of the event, people from all the churches were already talking about what do next year.
Most importantly for all involved, it was a time where churches of the same town, facing the same challenges, pooled together their time and talents to provide a meaningful event for their own children and to the children of the community.
The Rev. Clayton Farmer is pastor of Clearview UMC in Doran, Virginia, and Dennison UMC in Rosedale, Virginia.