While children are welcome to activities, worship, and just about anything we do here year-round at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, there’s something extra special about these two weeks of the summer in which this building revolves around children--almost exclusively. This week our church hosted Little Lambs Vacation Bible School and next week we’ll host SpringHill Day Camp.
Having our facility overrun with delighted and engaged kids from this church and the broader community harkens back to our founding pastor’s mission for this church. When Katherine Tessman followed God’s call and started Bellwood Gospel Tabernacle (which would become Elmhurst CRC) she was laser-focused on telling neighborhood children about Jesus.
And no matter how much fun the kids have this week and next, nearly 100 years after Katherine Tessman began this church, that is still the goal. Which is why Kara Hackert, ECRC’s children’s ministry coordinator, and Ashley Slinkman, ECRC’s preschool ministries coordinator, get so excited about these weeks.
Ashley, who planned and spearheaded this week’s Little Lambs “Victory in Jesus” VBS, says, “I'm excited that the anticipation for this camp grows each year, and that as the 120 children ran in on Tuesday morning, excitement (and minimal tears) filled the building. I love that we get to teach about Jesus and the Bible in a way that is so much fun that the kids think they are just at a big, two-hour party. I'm excited for the potential expansion of VBS next year.”
Next week Spring Hill descends on our campus, bringing with them energetic counselors, high-adventure activities, water slides, games, songs, dance moves, and of course, stories of how Jesus changes lives. Spring Hill is one of the most popular summer day camps for kids in Elmhurst. We expect over 340 kids.
Kara Hackert, who oversees the activities next week, has worked with Spring Hill all year to make this experience great for everyone. Kara says she’s particularly excited about hearing the kids’ laugher and singing; a prayer activity called “Crowns for Jesus,” which symbolizes how our strengths support others’ weaknesses—and vice verse; the amazing counselors (especially their hearts for children); the Counselor in Training program that guides our middle and high school students in their leadership and sharing of their testimony; and of course, “the smell of sunblock in the air!”
Both Kara and Ashley ask for prayer for “safety, safety, and more safety” and that the children who attend come away wanting to know more about Jesus as their Savior.
Thanks not only to Kara and Ashley for all their work but for the hundreds of volunteers who helped make these weeks possible!
Caryn Rivadeneira, Acting Director of Care & Worship Planning