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Partners blessed with success

Molly Shore

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,”

Lilly said.