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Episcopal churches using Mennonite VBS materials


Take Me to the Water, 2012 VBS materials

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Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
July 27, 2012
- Melodie Davis

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.— “Who would have thought Mennonites and Episcopalians could connect so well?” jokes Rev. June Hardy Dorsey, assistant rector of St. Thomas Episcopal church in Richmond, Virginia, who has used Mennonite produced Vacation Bible School materials for six years. “We don’t even look at anything else.”

Those words are as refreshing as a cold glass of water on a hot day for Mari-Ruth Juhnke, customer service representative for MennoMedia.

While many publishers of VBS materials produce banners and props and prizes to accompany the Bible study materials for summer Bible school sessions, Dorsey said their congregation appreciates that MennoMedia has not succumbed to all the bells and whistles.

Dorsey said at least four Episcopal churches in Richmond are using MennoMedia VBS materials.  The Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary has also recommended the MennoMedia VBS materials for six years in a row.

“The themes always seem to speak to the current context of our church and using them has had a wide impact on our church and community. Whenever the Scripture portions studied in VBS appear in the lectionary for worship, we make references to our experiences with them in VBS,” said Dorsey. One year, Dorsey sent evaluative feedback saying that the stories lacked balance between male and female stories. “I felt heard and saw changes in subsequent years,” she said.

As assistant rector, Dorsey works in all areas of parish ministry, but her particular area of interest is in helping children, youth, and adults develop as intelligent, caring, believing and generous people. Dorsey has been involved in curriculum development and design for much of her professional career and has a BA in education with an early childhood emphasis, and an MDiv in theology. 

This year’s VBS theme, “Take Me to the Water”, focuses on Bible stories involving water. For 2013 the theme is “Breathe It In” and features stories about the life-giving breath of God. For more information on VBS materials go to  or call 800-631-6535.

MennoMedia is the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.