Executive Minister's Desk

The Regional Synod of New York

VBS – A Time of Learning and Growing  

I cannot wait for Vacation Bible School (VBS) to start. For over sixty years, I can claim that I am a product of VBS. A Ministry of the RSNY, VBS was originally birthed as the Particular Synod of New York in the late 1960s, with its focus on enhancing churches with a new way of church revitalization, especially in the Urban communities. Every year as a kid, VBS was a life-changing learning experience of knowing Jesus and His love for me. It was super fun, and no doubt, a way of church diversity with churches at the Bronxville Reformed Church, the Collegiate Churches, Hopewell Reformed Church, Old Dutch Reformed Church, Hickksille Reformed Church, Warwick Reformed Church and Manhasset Reformed Church, among other churches participating financially supporting RSNY Summer Programs. Churches partnered with learning tools to provide volunteers and funding for multiple children across racial and cultural differences in our synod to gain an appreciation of Jesus in the Summer months. Many parents did not attend church, but they wanted their children to gain a religious experience. Because of the relationship children had connecting with church families, relationships unfolded where parents were curious about changes in their children and their attitude toward Christian hospitality in their homes. Stories grew of how God used mission groups to plant seeds in the life of children around the Synod. Ministers would share how VBS planted seeds of hope in children and how children chose to follow Jesus. Children became counselors and later some held the position of Christian Educators in the life of the church, and many were aspired to become Minister of Word and Sacrament.

In the 1990s, Rev. Jon Norton asked me to coordinate the Regional Synod of New York VBS Programs. The Synod would provide orientations to churches and training for counselors. I can remember how we packed the Tarrytown office with hundreds of volunteers, which caused decentralized annual orientations and training for church leaders.

Today, the RSNY sponsors funding for over thirty churches to provide a summer of hope for thousands of children. As the RSNY realize the pressing physical and emotional need for parents, our partner churches enable families to connect with families in their communities, building lasting relationships with neighbors. Researchers confirm that VBS is one of the most effective evangelism tools that God uses to call children to salvation. The RSNY encourages churches to provide a summer VBS experience for children and adults, they will find that not only are churches blessed with teaching and learning but will find VBS is an effective tool for discovering future church leaders.


Rev. Dr. Micheal Edwards, Executive Minister