Written by Anna Van Wechel
Ministry to children, including a robust VBS program, has been a hallmark of our church for most of its long history.
Having begun in the 1920’s as a Sunday School in the Fremont district, loving and nurturing children in the faith is part of our church’s DNA. The Sunday School children came to know Jesus, started inviting their parents, adult classes were begun, and in 1939 the church was officially formed. Throughout our 81 years, except a few intermittent seasons, VBS has been a highlight of our church year, drawing children from neighborhoods around the city to learn rich Gospel truth from the Word of God. In fact, in the early 80’s, our church played a large role in developing a series of 4 VBS programs now used in churches throughout the US.
One of those rare seasons without VBS was broken by our Children’s Ministry Director Sarah Seitz in 2017. With the support of an enthusiastic staff from the congregation, she capably resurrected the ministry with Upward Bound, one of the themes of the series focused on Christ’s rugged and radical journey for our salvation. Having grown up attending VBS each summer and seeing its impact in her own life and in the hundreds of children who came over the years, Sarah was committed to reviving this vital outreach to the children not only of our own church, but of our city. Both with Upward Bound, and the following year’s Space Probe, our former building was filled to capacity (and more) with children, to the point that we sadly had to turn some away for lack of space.
Our new building here at Trinity, with its gym and 2 floors of classroom space, was an answer to many prayers and a dream come true for our VBS-and-Children’s-Ministry-loving hearts. Summer Seaquest, our first July in our new space in 2019, was a beautiful thing as we were able to freely welcome excited children from around the city.
So here we are in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic’s disruption has had its impact on nearly every area of community life for churches around the globe, including their ministry to children. In particular, it has put many in a quandary regarding whether they will be able to host VBS this summer. Not knowing when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, let alone freedom given to assemble in larger groups, has left some undecided and many determining it will not be feasible to move ahead.
With prayerful consideration of many factors, and much sadness, we at Trinity find ourselves in the latter group.
In a normal year at this point in the season, we would have already been well on our way with staff training and the myriad preparations that go into executing such a large program. Many of our VBS staff are parents who are now both working and homeschooling their children, and that has significantly limited the freedom they would otherwise have had to prepare for VBS responsibilities. Also, having no firm date when we will be able to gather safely, we believe the best course of action is to postpone our VBS until 2021. While this deeply saddens us for the sake of our children and those around the city who will miss out on the powerful impact VBS can have in their lives, we feel the current situation has left us no other option.
One factor that has come into play is that our VBS for this year was to be Olympion, a theme that typically coincides with the summer Olympics. As the games have been postponed until 2021, our plan now is to hold our materials for next summer. This will give us a head start in our preparations and put us on target to host an exceptional VBS yet again in 2021.
We look forward with hope and excitement to Olympion 2021!
Please pray with us that through this unique season of isolation God will grow a new hunger for the Gospel in the hearts of our TCS children and the children of Seattle that would draw them to seek out Christ and the answers only He can give—answers they will find at Olympion 2021.