For the first time in 15 years, Miller's Chapel United Methodist Church had Vacation Bible School this summer. But they didn't do it alone. The Maynardville congregation joined with a new Catholic congregation in town.
"By joining forces we were able to develop a solid volunteer group and attract children from both congregations as well as the community as a whole," said the Rev. Ken Luton. "What would have been a struggle individually, we were able to accomplish together."
The Oak Ridge District church hosted in their own building with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission joining in.
"We had 35 individual children and approximately 40 volunteers and Bible study adults," Luton said.
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Blessed Teresa is the first Catholic congregation in Union County, and the Thanksgiving 2011 service shared by Blessed Teresa and Miller's Chapel was the first ecumenical service in the county, said Father Steve Pawelk.
The relationship between the two churches began in October 2011. Miller's Chapel shared its building with the Catholic congregation while their new building was renovated.
"They held mass at 8:30 a.m. which worked well with our worship and Sunday school schedule," Luton said. "Many of our congregants attended mass, and those who had never done so before were amazed at how similar our services are. Both congregations have members who attend the other's worship services and enjoy the diversity."
The joint VBS was an "overwhelming success," Luton said. "We are already planning for next year."
"VBS programs keep up with times," (UMNS, 8/3/12)