By Chris Armstrong
What does collaboration look like? Touted as ideal for the Church, this idea is working in the Diocese of Pueblo. The recipe for successful collaboration includes: parishes with one vision for Vacation Bible School, talented people willing to do their share, young adults and teens trained for leadership roles, sharing food, laughing and taking time to work together. It is a perfect mix for a successful program.
This past summer, the parishes of Christ the King, Cathedral, Holy Family, Our Lady of the Meadows all in Pueblo, along with St. Benedict in Florence and St. Michael in Canon City came together to share resources and people-power to bring Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si to the 200 plus children from the southside of Pueblo to the city of Canon City.
The VBS was called EarthKeepers and was developed by the pastoral center. Once the group was of one mind about the venue, the discussions became based on who could do what? Laura Fisher- Escalera from Christ the King was the material handler. Lynn Cervi and Linda Davis of Our Lady of the Meadows and Holy Family provided the leadership empowering the youth of each parish to take on roles that otherwise would be handled by adults. Marge Ursick-Leetch from the Cathedral was the food safety technician. Chris Armstrong from Our Lady of the Meadows prepared the Bible stories for each day and found resources not included in the materials. But none of the volunteers were limited to just once ingredient of the mix. Environment and supplies came together when they all volunteered to share what was at each parish. Implementing it within the parishes was left to the creativity of the staffs of the parishes.
“Plan, train and implement” were the watchwords for the summer. It became apparent that by sharing costs, resources and making stewardship work among the adult leadership, it was easier to transfer that message to children. By buying in bulk, they dropped the cost on many items and reduced the number of leftover items. By using email, the group was able to use each other’s talents, but not use up a lot of precious time in meetings.
So what does collaboration really look like? Two hundred plus kids from four locations, parish formation leadership coming together on one project, about 120 teens and college young adults home for the summer assuming leadership feeling blessed and satisfied with a job well done.
We hope to continue the collaboration for the summer VBS of 2017!