Vacation Bible School traditionally takes place over several days. However, in Dickinson, North Dakota, it happens in a 24-hour timeframe at Patterson Lake near the town of Dickinson.
Dickinson United Methodist Church held the one-day VBS with the theme Big Faith Experience. The curriculum dives into the stories of the Bible. Participants explored what it means to walk faithfully with God no matter the circumstance through three lessons—Noah's Ark, Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, and Jonah and the whale.
"It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was great," said one of the organizers, Debi Wilson. "Our high school youth helped with the lessons and skits. They loved it. It is such a blessing to see people together."
VBS started mid-morning with the first lesson. After lunch, there were two more lessons. Lessons were enhanced with games, skits, and crafts. The day ended with a cookout for families and a campfire that evening.
"It was an awesome experience. We tried this a couple of years ago and thought we would try it again. Last year we tried to work with another church and ended up having our families at an event in town. It works well to be in the park by the lake area. There is something spiritual about being away in the quiet, surrounded by God's beauty," said Dawn Weber, one of the leaders for the weekend. Read more about the first VBS camping weekend.
Then on Sunday, there was a breakfast, followed by a community worship service at the campground.
"We had someone camping with her family show up for worship. They had been wondering about missing church that morning and then found out God brought church to them," said Pastor Rita Ennen.
A potluck picnic took place after worship, followed by a concert with Stephanie Dawn and Dann Thorton. Thorton's dad, Dan, was a faithful United Methodist who served as choir director in the United Methodist Church for 15 years in New Rockford and 22 years in Dickinson.
Stephanie's concerts combine her powerful testimony, engaging voice, and exuberant personality into a captivating and uplifting program that draws the listener closer to God. Her enthusiastic love for Jesus lifts her above the many challenges she faces in addition to her blindness. The music and witness inspires others facing challenges in their own lives.
"It was a time of great fellowship and building relationships," said Pastor Rita. "VBS was great, but even more important was a time for everyone, even the adults, to step away from 'doing life' and just relax."
It has been a fruitful summer for Dickinson UMC. Families and children attended camp at Storm Mountain Center. The congregation had a float in the two-hour Fourth of July parade with thousands of viewers. On Tuesday evenings during the summer, Dickinson UMC has a water bottle ministry—handing out free bottles of water to people attending the community concert series.
"It has been a good summer. I am headed to Youth 2023 with two of our high school youth. People are experiencing joy and God," said Dawn Weber.