Lutherans, United Methodists join together for summer program

West Long Branch — The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, West Long Branch, and Saint Luke’s United Methodist Church, Long Branch, are planning a joint Vacation Bible School program to be held Sunday, July 23 through Thursday, July 28, from 5-8 p.m. at Reformation’s location at 992 Broadway in West Long Branch.

“I have done similar joint programs with ecumenical partners when I served in other parts of the state, and have been looking for an opportunity to do it here for several years.” stated Rev. Matthew Cimorelli, Pastor at Reformation.

Rev, Richard Romero, Pastor at Saint Luke’s adds, “Since we were not going to be doing our own VBS this summer, when Reformation reached out to us with this idea, we were very pleased to pursue the idea.”

Using a program from Group Publishing, “Rome: Paul, and the Underground Church,” children will gather to learn about the earliest days of the Christian Church using passages from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Pastor Romero comments, “Through singing, drama, games, hand’s-on learning activities and conversation, we will be learning several things that are basic to the Christian faith.” “Daily themes center on how God’s free gift of love changes us when we experience it, and others with whom we share it.” added Pastor Cimorelli.

Children from each congregation will not be the only ones participating. Children from Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal congregations, who also worship weekly in Reformation’s sanctuary, will also participate, and adults from all of these congregations will help lead the programming.

Pastor Cimorelli remarked, “Such diversity in faith perspectives and cultural backgrounds is wonderfully enriching to all who participate.”

The program includes a simple, child-friendly, dinner served each evening at 5. Music and singing, drama, learning from Paul and members of the underground Church, science, games and crafts follow.

The churches also will offer an “adult track.” As the children leave the music and drama gathering at 6:00, adults are invited to gather in the Pastor’s Study to consider together the same texts that the children will be studying.

Registration is currently open and all are welcome. This program is free and open to the public. To register, call 732-229-9180 or email reformationwlb@­gmail. com.