Recently the Presbyterian Church of Wilmington was transformed into a haven for some of God’s most precious creatures. The theme “All Creations Great and Small” guided the week of Vacation Bible School events.
Among the featured pets were the police department’s “K9 Karson”, puppies and kittens from an animal shelter, sheep from a local farm, a camel and a frisky pony.
Pastor Debbie Linville tended the “flock” throughout the week. Daily visits from “Noah” (David Miller) provided a welcome entry for children as they arrived each day for VBS. Many volunteers assisted in teaching animal-themed Bible stories, creating crafts that mirrored the stories, preparing snacks, and leading the kids in boisterous outdoor games.
The children who attended received several hands-on opportunities to pet the animals. A few speakers, including Dr. Bob Gano, taught the VBS kids about the importance of being good caregivers to our furry friends.
WPD Officer Jerry Popp, Karson’s handler, demonstrated some of Karson’s skills and keen intelligence. The kids also learned about “Canine Companions for Independence”, an agency that helps match those who need pet therapy with the appropriate animal helper.
Rick McCarren brought “Zeke” and Jo Miller shared “Scooby” and showed the kids how those dogs can be helpful as loving and watchful companions. The children were delighted to be within a few feet of Thom Sears’ live camel and pony and feel the coats of Frani Croghan’s freshly-shorn sheep. Mrs. Connie Bailey brought several cuddly puppies and cats from the shelter. The children squealed in excitement as they took turns in petting each lovely creature.
The week came to conclusion on Friday evening with a lively picnic and pet blessing ceremony conducted by Pastor Debbie. Pet lovers brought a wide variety of animals which ranged from hermit crabs to stuffed animals. Pastor Debbie prayer over each animal and its respective owner, and families and friends enjoyed a hot dog picnic and fellowship.