Building the City of God: Vacation Bible Camp 2023

This morning before our first campers arrived, I took a moment to walk through the gym. Over the past week, our VBC campers have been building a city out of boxes. The tallest building stretches almost a story in height, the smallest building is a shoebox covered in tape, tucked between several other buildings — a house for children to play in. There are a few surprises — pieces of tape stretch between buildings — ziplines that let people move around the city; there is a hospital for fish, a gigantic trampoline, and a home for lost animals.

sky gymDon’t worry, every Philadelphia team has its own stadium space, and sports will be a part of the city! You’ll have the opportunity to see the city this Sunday. Keep an eye out for those ziplines! The theme for camp this week is “Building the City of God.” Learning from famous builders from the Bible, campers have built tools to join God in the work of creating something new. But God’s city is not just an idea, it is something we have had the privilege to experience. I see the City of God carefully built by this community.

Over 25 volunteers gave their time and energy to prep the supplies, projects, and decorations. Countless more made sure we had enough boxes and materials. Seventy-seven volunteers have been here throughout the week welcoming children, leading activities, sharing stories, and making camp special. Youth gave up trips to Hersheypark and trips to the shore so that they could be here, and they gave their mornings and afternoons to make camp incredible for all our campers.

Speaking of our campers, the fourth and fifth graders spent their week serving others, learning about mission partners and what it takes to transform the world we know into something closer to God’s vision. Our three-year-olds created a community that was kind and loving. Our PreK-third graders charged into the week – singing, laughing, playing, creating, and most of all modeling a city that reflects God’s love.

I could share 100 snippets and stories, but I hope you will look at the pictures and the videos shared, walk through our city, and see that God’s city is not far off, but here breaking through in the work we do for one another.