What began as an unusual experiment between two local churches
reached a milestone this week, when St. Francis Xavier Catholic
Church and Burbank First United Methodist celebrated 25 years of
co-sponsoring a vacation Bible school.
The churches recognized the silver anniversary with a breakfast
Friday morning at the Methodist church, where the weeklong day camp
has been held for the past 23 years.
“This breakfast is just our way of saying thank you to the
volunteers for their endeavors,” said Peg Setti, a St. Francis Xavier
Speaking at the breakfast, which drew more than 50 people, Sally
Chew, director of the ecumenical vacation Bible school, said if she
were placing an ad in the paper to recruit volunteer teachers and
assistants for the camp, the ad would read: “Wanted: Someone willing
to give up time ... experience required is none, and the pay is even
According to Setti, it was uncommon 25 years ago for Catholics and
Protestants to get together and keep a venture like the camp going
for so long. But she said the cooperation between the churches has
resulted in a positive experience for the children of the community
and has fostered a spirit of friendship between the churches.
More than 150 children 4 through 12 spent their week at the camp,
which ended Friday, studying lessons that centered on themes of love,
peace, patience and kindness, Chew said. All the classes featured
crafts, games, a Bible lesson, playtime, snack time and music.
Teacher Helen O’Brien, who taught 7-year-olds, was glad her
students could take tapes home to learn the songs they sang in class.
“I think it’s been a very rewarding experience, and the kids have
enjoyed themselves in a safe, loving environment,” O’Brien said.
Elizabeth Lilly, 18, has been volunteering at the summer Bible
school for seven years. This year, she became a teaching assistant.
“What makes me come back every year is seeing the kids have fun,”