Who Is My Neighbor?

Respond to the Great Commandment and Pope Francis' powerful encyclical Fratelli Tutti

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Who is my Neighbor?

Neighbors are more than people who live next door. Neighbors are more than people in our families or communities. Through five carefully chosen Bible stories, Who Is My Neighbor? leads children on a journey to discover more about God’s great love. From looking at how to be a neighbor to diving into what it means to live out our faith, this interactive VBS series will lead children deeply into Bible stories focused on God’s care and compassion for neighbors close at hand and around the world.

The Who Is My Neighbor? VBS starter kit comes with everything you need to inspire children to become God’s hands and feet in their neighborhoods and world. Each day’s story and theme are rooted in the Bible and helpful concepts about sharing kindness, extending compassion, and doing justice come to life in age-appropriate ways. Experiences include dramas, playing games, making crafts, sharing snacks, and more.

The Bible passages begin with the Golden Rule and story of the Good Samaritan, the same Gospel stories around which Pope Francis builds his encyclical Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity & Social Friendship). Each day starts with relationship-building, joint worship, music, prayer, and a dramatic presentation of the Bible story.

Children in grades K–5 will see Bible stories come to life in the dramas during worship time, and will reflect on them during three response times: Bible Response, Active Response (Physical Games), and Creative Response (Art/Crafts).

Preschoolers ages 4–5 may participate in worship with the older children or have their own worship time. They too will share in the Bible story and engage in crafts, games, and other activities.

Daily Schedule

This theme provides content for five flexible sessions, from as short as one hour to over three hours each day. Scroll right to see all five days.

DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4 DAY 5

Love God and Your Neighbor

Who Is My Neighbor?

Live Peacefully

Everyone Is Invited!

Share with Others

Purpose Statement To discover Jesus’ instructions to love God and neighbor To recognize what it means to be a good neighbor To think about living peacefully with neighbors To understand that everyone is included as neighbors and invited to God’s table To see an example of sharing God’s gifts with church communities and neighbors
Fratelli Tutti #56-86 #56-86, 101-105, 165-166 #225-254 #61-62, 87-100 #61-62, 118-120, 271-280
Scripture Mark 12:28-34 Luke 10:25-37 Genesis 26:12-33 Luke 14:15-24 Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37
Story Summary Jesus speaks of the importance of loving God and loving neighbors. Jesus tells the story of a traveler who is wounded by robbers. The one who stops to help, who shows mercy, is the one we are to imitate. Isaac’s neighbors become jealous of his prosperity. Isaac moves to a new location so that he will not be in conflict with his neighbors. The king recognizes that God is with Isaac. Jesus tells a story about a banquet to which those who are invited do not attend. Instead, the servants go out on the streets and invite those who had originally been excluded. The early church worships and prays together. They eat together and share material goods with those who need help, making sure that everyone’s needs are met.

Features

Affordable & Flexible
  • Available in download-only or physical + download kits.
  • Reproducible (with exception of student booklets and family music CDs/MP3s).
  • Physical leader guides are in a binder with tabs to make them easy to rearrange or duplicate.
  • Bulk-priced music can easily be sent home with every family.
Enthusiastically Catholic
  • Grounded in Pope Francis' encyclical and Catholic social teaching.
  • Featuring top musical artists from Oregon Catholic Press.
  • Service opportunity from Catholic Relief Services.
  • A great all-around Scripture-based experience perfect for any parish!
Catchy, Meaningful Music
  • Hummable, top-notch, kid-friendly music that connects closely with the theme.
  • Easy to lead, with Powerpoints, sing-along music videos, and hand motions.
  • Songs by Jesse Manibusan, Steve Angrisano, Bryan Sirchio, and Greg Walton.
Comprehensive, but Simple
  • All the core features you expect in a VBS, without overwhelming complexity.
  • Earth-friendly, without plastic trinkets that will litter our common home.
  • Early childhood leader guide makes it easy to include preschoolers.
  • Easy to adapt to your timeframe and preferences.
An Ideal Theme
  • A fun and effective way to help children learn about Pope Francis' encyclical Fratelli Tutti and the Church's core teachings on discipleship.
  • Includes Scripture, prayer, drama, music, games, crafts, and activities, all nicely integrated to teach care for creation!
And More...
  • Thoughtful take-home pages to bring parents into the process and coach them on how to talk to their children.
  • Extra resources included to help you market and manage your VBS.
  • Optional gestures/motions are provided for prayers, memory verses, and songs.

Preview Components

Director Guide

Overview of the VBS and guidelines for orchestrating the process. Includes a planning chart, sample schedules, tips for working with staff/volunteers, forms, Bible backgrounds, snack ideas, a book list, a letter to parents, guidelines for inviting children to faith, and more.

Preview

Early Childhood Leader Guide

Full guide for all aspects of VBS for younger children (ages 4-5). Makes suggestions for full daily schedules, including snack ideas, Bible sessions, activities, crafts, books, song/motion suggestions, and more.

Preview

Worship & Drama Leader Guide

Full guide for leading Worship & Drama sessions for each day, including gathering (introducing theme, opening prayer, etc.), worshiping (prayer, song, Bible verse, drama), responding (offering project), and sending (schedule review, blessing, and song)

Preview

Active Response Leader Guide

Full guide for leading interactive activities & games each day, including advance preparation, session plan, material list, step-by-step instructions, and debrief.

Preview

Bible Response Guide

Full guide for leading Scripture response sessions for each day, including Biblical background information, materials list, advance preparation, session plan, and suggestions for teaching Bible memory verses.

Preview

Creative Response Guide

Full guide for leading craft sessions for each day, including Biblical background, materials list, advance preparation, and debrief.

Preview

Guide Book - Child Booklet

Full-color 24-page 8½" x 11" activity booklet for grades K-5, including puzzles and other interactive activities.

Preview

My Book of Stories - Preschool Child Booklet

Full-color 16-page 8½" x 11" activity booklet for ages 4-5, including a retelling of the Bible story for each day, puzzles, and other interactive activities. Send this booklet home so parents can follow up with their children!

Preview

Invitation Poster

Customize and post these 11" x 17" posters around your parish or around town.

Bible Memory Verse Poster

Make it easy for kids to learn the verses day-by-day.

Send Home Parent Engagement Notes

Engaging letters in English & Spanish to keep parents in the loop and coach them on how to follow up with their children each day.

Plus:

  • Logo artwork (use to create your own t-shirts or documents)
  • Music components (see below)
  • ...and much more!

Music Video Previews

Featuring the music of Jesse Manibusan, Steve Angrisano, Bryan Sirchio, and Oregon Catholic Press

Catholic composer, singer/songwriter, storyteller, humorist, catechist, evangelizer and encourager Jesse Manibusan leads our music and offers one song for this theme.

Book Jesse to perform live for your community!

Love Is What We Need
Steve Angrisano
Everybody's Always Welcome Here
Bryan Sirchio
Givin' It All Away
Greg Walton
One Step Away
Steve Angrisano
We Are the Light
Jesse Manibusan
A Better Place
Bran Sirchio
Love Like That
Bryan Sirchio

Music Components

The eResource (downloadable) starter kit includes:

  • MP3 audio files of all songs
  • Songbook with lead sheets (melody line scores, lyrics, and chords)
  • Hand/body motions for all songs
  • Simple sing-along videos, showing the motions (stream or download)
  • Simple sing-along lyric presentations (Powerpoint)

The physical starter kit includes:

  • Full access to the eResource (downloadable) starter kit
  • USB drive with all download files, including videos
  • Printed songbook

In addition, purchase inexpensive bulk audio CDs to send home with families, so they can continue to sing the VBS songs!