Rev. Aleese Kenitzer
Aleese Kenitzer serves as the pastor of Shepherd of the Cross Church in Muscatine.

Muscatine Living

When I was in kindergarten, my grandfather would walk about six blocks to pick me up from my bus stop. Attending half-day kindergarten, my parents – both of whom worked full-time – couldn’t pick me up, nor could they attend to me in the afternoons. So, my mother (who worked for the school district) arranged for me to be dropped off at our school district’s administration building. If I was lucky, I got to see Mom for a quick hug in the middle of the day if she happened to be at the administration building. Every day, rain or shine, Grandpa would always be there, waiting to take me back to my grandparent’s house for the afternoon.

Looking back on those afternoons during my kindergarten year, I’ve come to recognize that the time I had with my grandparents was not only special, but sacred. Each afternoon, after being in school for the morning, Grandpa would give me “school lessons” of his own. As a retired teacher and principal, he wanted nothing less than the best for his grandkids. So, Grandpa would give me math story problems and would have me help him with his crossword puzzles. None of it felt like school, but in those afternoons, Grandpa was passing down to me what he knew. He was giving me a role model to learn from and was providing an opportunity to celebrate similarities across generations.

This summer, seven churches (Zion Lutheran, Grace Lutheran, Shepherd of the Cross Lutheran, Faith United Church of Christ, Trinity Episcopal, First Presbyterian, and First Christian) are coming together to host a community-wide vacation Bible school from July 10-14 under the theme “From Generation to Generation.” At first glance, the theme might not sound all that flashy, but as I learned in my interaction with my grandparents, it’s in those encounters between generations that something special – even something sacred – happens.

Each night, kids who have completed preschool through fifth grade will explore Bible stories of characters who, from generation to generation, experienced and passed down God’s faithful love. As God promised to bless Abraham and Sarah, kids will learn how God’s enduring promises continued through other biblical characters and continues to fill our lives. Through games, crafts, skits, songs, and good-ol’-fashioned fun, kids will have the opportunity to not only learn about God’s faithful love, but experience it together with kids from across Muscatine and with those of other generations.

Here’s the even more fun part: on our last evening (Thursday) we’re opening Vacation Bible School up for entire families to join us; for if God’s love is something for all generations, then why restrict it to just kids? For that reason, after having met at Zion Lutheran each night Sunday through Wednesday, we’ll wrap up our week at Grace Lutheran on Thursday where we have more outdoor space.

If you’re interested in joining us, check out to register your child. Each night, we’ll begin at 5:30 p.m. with a meal and will wrap up by 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact Pastor Aleese Kenitzer at or 563-264-0784.

We hope you’ll join us this summer as we collaborate together across generations and across congregations. If it doesn’t fit in your schedule, seek out those around you that you can learn from this summer. For all of us – kids or adults – are better together as we learn and grow in love.

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