St. John's Church, Thorold
Empower people to learn about God through Scripture, influence the world in a Christ-like manner, and find peace, love, hope and joy in God.

An open letter from to parents/guardians about issues with Group Publishing's ROAR VBS Program

Dear parents/guardians,
I have recently been made aware of some concerns raised about content in Group Publishing's ROAR VBS program. Two particular portions of this program have been labelled as harmful/racist/tokenist by many folks in various communities, but most importantly by people of colour.
Specifically, there is a portion of a lesson where children are supposed to take on the role of Egyptian slaves and the leader takes on the role of a guard. Additionally, there is a language component in the program that refers to "click language" and encourages children to incorporate clicks into their own name. Both of these components are problematic in their own ways. I believe, and others have agreed, that having children take on the role of a slave does more harm than good in this lesson, which is supposed to teach about fairness/unfairness. The language component tokenizes the Xhosa language (without actually naming it), and doesn't actually teach the children any of the history, context, or words of this particular language. 
This is not something I consider lightly or just brush off. This is a serious issue that requires careful attention on my part as coordinator of children's, youth, and family ministry programming at St. John's. I want you to know that I aspire to provide content that works toward social justice and not to reinforce existing structures of ignorance, prejudice, and violence. As a parent, I want the programs I offer to reflect the same kinds of values that I would want to instil in my own child. With that in mind, I will be modifying these portions of ROAR to reflect an anti-racist, social justice stance that is true to who we aspire to be as Anglicans and Christians.
In the spirit of open and respectful dialogue, I welcome your thoughts, concerns, and feelings about this matter. You may contact me by email ( or by phone (905-227-5431). 
Your friend in Christ,
Katherine Kerley
Children's, Youth, and Family Ministry Coordinator
St. John's Church, Thorold

Welcome to The Church of St. John the Evangelist

12 Carleton St. S
Thorold, ON
L2V 5C2

Welcome to The Church of St. John the Evangelist, Thorold!


Worship Times:

Sunday 8am - Traditional BAS
Sunday 10am - Contemporary
Messy Church - 
3rd Thursday of every month 5:30-7:30pm