PARIS — The First Congregational Church of South Paris offers Vacation Bible School. VBS is open and available to any child ages 4-12, free of charge. The 2013 VBS program, “God’s Backyard,” continues the church’s Sunday school focus of serving others.

Children get involved in “campfire circle” discussions, Bible stories, skits and games. They make crafts to take home and service projects for others. All activities are designed to enhance and explore the meaning of “love your neighbor as yourself.”

During the June VBS, children made “Family Emergency Love Kits,” “Friendship Windsocks,” and “Sweet Treat Cards” to give to friends and neighbors. They also made banks to collect money for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund to help those struggling financially. In addition to making things for others, children got a chance to explore their own creative gifts.

Samples of projects are on display in the church vestry. Under the direction of Cynthia Riley, youth and family Pastor at First Congregational Church, a volunteer team of teens worked closely with children, participating in “campfire circles,” storytime, taking roles in Bible skits, assisting children with crafts and all tasks associated with snacks.

“I am so proud of teenagers Kari Narhuminti, Sarah Annance, Katie Petrovich and Destiny Belanger not only for volunteering, but also taking initiative for projects. Most importantly they are caring and kind,” Riley said.

She added, “the teens were very important to making the June VBS a fun and spiritually enriching experience for all of us. Children expressed that VBS felt like family.”


“In addition to the hard working teen volunteers, we were blessed by the support of the First Congregational Church community who provided snacks and cheerfully relocated meetings so we could take over the Haskell House,” she said. “We are also blessed by the ever-indulgent grace and encouragement of Rev. Don Mayberry.”

The Rev. Mayberry commented, “it is truly wonderful having the building full of children and teens. Their faithful energy is exciting to be around. We’re very pleased to be able to reach out to children and their families.”

In addition to Sunday school and Create and Play on Sunday mornings, the church hosts Saturday youth and family events, Monday night family dinners and three summer VBS programs that are available for all children.

For more information and to register for Vacation Bible School July 22-26, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., “God’s Backyard: Under the Stars,” with different stories, crafts and games, but still themed around serving family, friends, neighbors, community and Jesus, or Vacation Bible School August 12-15, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., “God’s Backyard: New Adventures,” contact Youth and Family Pastor Cynthia Riley at, 336-2567 or by connecting to the First Congregational Church of South Paris Youth Group Facebook page. You may also call the church at 743-2437.

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