Lisbon Reformed Presbyterian Church is a small congregation in upstate New York. The church building sits on the corner of two country roads, outside of the village of Lisbon and about 5 miles (8 km) from the St. Lawrence River and the US – Canada border.
The church is about 350 miles (560 km) northwest of New York City, in very rural St. Lawrence County, where there are literally more cows than people! (We are sometimes confused with the Lisburn, Northern Ireland RPC, but the two congregations are separated by the Atlantic Ocean.)
Co-Labouring for the Gospel
Lisbon RPC enjoys an unusual providence: there is also an Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) congregation in Lisbon, 2.5 miles (4 km) away. There is a longstanding tradition of cooperation between the two congregations. Their pastors even fill each other’s pulpits when needed. (Worship starts at 10 am at Grace OPC, and at 11 am at Lisbon RPC, meaning that one pastor can preach at both services.) We have enjoyed Reformation parties and many other joint activities. Working together to host Vacation Bible School is another tradition, although it was disrupted by the pandemic in 2020.
A last minute VBS!
We have found that scheduling VBS for the week immediately following the end of the school year is best; if we hold VBS later in the summer, fewer children are able to attend because they have become involved in other activities.
Each congregation takes turns hosting the VBS in their church building. When most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in New York State on June 15th, our friends at Grace OPC discussed holding VBS again and asked if our congregation would be willing to help if they hosted. The last day of school was June 24th, so we planned a shortened, 3-day VBS to be held June 28th to 30th. With so little time to prepare, we were glad to reuse curriculum, decorations, craft supplies, and more saved from a previous VBS, focusing on the book of Jonah.
A Good Attendance
Adult volunteers taught Bible lessons, memory verses and songs. Other adult and teen volunteers were in charge of skits, recreation, crafts, snacks, and caring for the babies and toddlers of the volunteers.
We welcomed about 30 children, from 4-year-olds to children entering 6th grade. Most were from families who regularly attend one of the sponsoring congregations, but some had brought friends and neighbors along. We were glad that the number and range of children was similar to attendance in recent, pre-pandemic years.
- Praise God with us for each child who attended and each family represented. We are grateful for a safe and happy time together, with dry weather just when we needed it for outdoor games.
- Please pray that Scripture which was read and taught and sung will be lodged in the hearts and minds of each child.
- Pray for growth in grace for the covenant children, and saving faith for those who had little previous knowledge of the gospel.
- Praise God for all of those who planned and carried out the VBS.
Shelley Bond is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She first became a member of the RPCNA in Lisbon in 1976. Since then, Shelley and her husband Brian have moved more than a few times, and have been members of the Syracuse, Ottawa (Canada), and Christ Church (Rome, NY) congregations! They have been worshipping at Lisbon RPC since 1997.