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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A 'wonder-full' summer

Wis. church offers a week of hayrides, crafts, Bible study and more

Summer means fun at Peace Lutheran Church, Waunakee, Wis. Last year about 200 youth — including 56 visitors from the community — enjoyed a "Week of Wonder."

The key to this fun, says John Rehl, project coordinator, is an exciting vacation Bible school program with many ways for people to get involved. At Peace, 124 people volunteered to help. They taught or helped with crafts, music, the petting zoo or the activities center. Others worked with publicity, decorations and craft preparation.

Crafts are an imp ortant part of the program. "We celebrate God's gifts by helping children create keepsakes — wooden trains, puzzles, bird feeders, squirrel feeders and clown dolls," Rehl says. "This way, the children can associate Bible school — and the church — with enduring, enjoyable things, rather than Styrofoam meat trays and cotton-ball sheep."

Publicity is important too. Newspaper ads, posters and billboards on the church lawn invited youth to the "Week of Wonder." Connie Thomson Rehl, pastor of Peace, drove a float in the loc al parade, while teenagers on roller skates handed out candy and invitations to the crowd.

"It's a lot of work," John Rehl says, "but we touch lives in incredible ways. For some kids, this is their only experience of church, so we offer a safe but exciting place to explore their role in God's world."

Activities included:

* A daily family paper, called the SonTown Gazette, filled with games, devotions and news stories.

* A day when local fire trucks, police cars and emergency vehicles stopped by, and the operators talked with the students about living together in a community.


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