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Character built at Bible school

4-day program formulated with Habitat for Humanity curriculum

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    Susan Rowland Miller, associate executive director for the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, leads a story about sharing during Vacation Bible School on Wednesday at Sylvania United Church of Christ.

    <The Blade/Katie Rausch
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    Gavin Ballard, 6, puts the finishing touches on a toolbox during Vacation Bible School.

    <The Blade/Katie Rausch
    Buy This Image

WebSylBIBLESCHOOL23p1

Susan Rowland Miller, associate executive director for the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, leads a story about sharing during Vacation Bible School on Wednesday at Sylvania United Church of Christ.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Bob the Builder would have been proud if he had walked into the Sylvania United Church of Christ one day last week.

The church had become a virtual construction site. Workers wore reflective gear and hard hats, rooms were designated as work and break areas, and orange cones were planted inside the building. Most important, it was the parishioners who were in construction mode.

More than 60 children and parents participated in the first day of Vacation Bible School Under Construction on Wednesday. The four-day program was formulated with the Habitat for Humanity curriculum. It integrated Biblical teachings with the action of service. On the first day, children — under the supervision of the adult foremen — constructed toolboxes to be sent to new Habitat homeowners.

The toolbox will be placed in a laundry basket that will be filled with other fruits of the children’s labor, including fleece quilts, coat racks, and patio stones.

Since 1997, church members have built 14 homes for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, which serves Lucas County.

“This is the first time we did the Habitat curriculum. We thought since we have been so involved, it will be good for our children,” Susan McCord, children’s coordinator, said.

Sylvania resident Liz Hildebrandt, 16, had been through the curriculum at another church. Now she was promoted as crew leader, helping the younger children with their projects, and making sure they have a memorable experience.

“I remember what I learned. And parents will tell me that their children remember the music and the moves, which are activities we do before and after the work,” she said. “I also make sure the children are involved. You never want them to go home and say ‘I didn’t have fun.’ ”

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Gavin Ballard, 6, puts the finishing touches on a toolbox during Vacation Bible School.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Sam Kapadia, 5, jumped up and down when the wooden parts finally came together to form the complete toolbox.

“It’s hard work,” the Ottawa Hills resident said.

He then was off to the next outdoor job site, labeled “break time,” where games based on the day’s theme of sharing awaited him.

Sylvania Township resident Natalie Jackson, 5, said the work made her happy because she knew a little girl like herself would benefit from her project.

Susan Rowland Miller, associate executive director for Maumee Valley Habitat, spoke to another group of children about the importance of sharing and how sharing time and money can benefit another family that may not live in the best environment.

“It is never too early to have an awareness,” she said.

The children were enlightened on the joy and importance of sharing and community by learning the parable of the Tabernacle. Found in Exodus, the story said the community came together, contributing possessions to build a sacred place where God could dwell.

“We are going to build our church through this parable throughout the week,” parishioner Luke Lindon said.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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