ELCA World Hunger’s Tree of Healing VBS (2022) focuses on healing in an expansive sense – the healing of mind, body, spirit, community, and creation.
Free download from the ELCA World Hunger website.
Younger children, Older children
Overall theme: “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2)
Day 1 – Roots of Creation (Psalm 104)
Day 2 – Healthy Minds and Bodies (3 John 1:1-5, 11-14)
Day 3 – Different Bodies, Different Gifts (Psalm 139: 1-18)
Day 4 – Healthy Grief (Romans 14:6-9) or Being Filled (Psalm 78:29)
Day 5 – Bearing Fruit (John 13: 3-15, 33-35)
What is included in the basic package?
Lesson plans for each station.
- Thoughtful program with clear instructions that can operate with a minimal budget.
- Skits are relevant, clever, and not too long.
- Excellent open-ended reflection questions.
- Materials are inexpensive and most stations do not require much material preparation.
- Game, craft, and snack options connect to areas around the world discussed in Story Time.
- Diversity of race and ability represented in materials.
- This VBS is most appropriate for ELCA congregations as there is a heavy focus on the work of ELCA World Hunger. It would need significant adaptation to be used by other denominations.
- There is no support for decorating.
- There are no videos.
- Would need to be adapted for use with preschoolers.
The music is not original or specific to this VBS, rather it draws on existing hymns and songs. The Story Time station tells stories from multiple countries in a respectful manner: South Sudan, Egypt, Palestine, Bangladesh, and Eswatini. The station includes facts for each country so children can learn more about these places. Language for God is gender neutral. The curriculum is sensitive to diverse economic situations. Children of different abilities would able to thrive with this curriculum. There are many adaptations noted and a whole day that discusses different abilities. This curriculum includes clear options/adaptations for online VBS.
About the Publisher
ELCA World Hunger is an outreach initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America. Using the power of congregations, ELCA World Hunger reaches communities in need through raising awareness and working to feed the hungry. As a program of the ELCA, they believe “through Jesus Christ, Christians are freed through grace to live faithfully, witness boldly, and serve joyfully.” The ELCA believes all people are created in God’s image; having confidence in God’s grace means being willing to take risks in discovering God’s plan for the church.
Special thanks to reviewer Sarah Bentley Allred.