Nothing says summer quite like “Vacation Bible School!” All around town signs can be seen in church yards inviting youngsters to attend. For as far back as I can remember, VBS has been a favorite pastime of children, held at varying times throughout summer break.
According to Wickipedia, the origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer.
Back when I was a kid, we didn’t have all the resources that are available these days. No social media with which to advertise flashing spaceships or roller coasters, and we didn’t have video clips, overhead projectors, or pre-recorded music with coordinated dance moves. No bright, colorful posters to hang up in the windows of local merchants.
We had cardboard and crayons, and if we were lucky, a few magic markers for our homemade posters. The Saturday before Bible School was scheduled to begin, we would line up a few cars and pickup trucks, and have a little mini-parade through the streets of Statham. Kids of all ages would be hanging from the windows and from the beds of the trucks, clapping and shouting “Vacation Bible School!! Vacation Bible School!!” I think I remember a station wagon driven by Wayne Holliday, decorated with streamers and balloons, as the Grand Marshall of our parade on several occasions.
In the years before our church had a fellowship hall, all of our fellowshippin’ was done in the basement, and out on the grounds. There was also an old house practically in the front yard of the church that we used for Sunday School classes, and of course, VBS. We’d have an area for crafts, study time, snack time, and recreation time. My sweet grandma was always on hand to serve butter cookies and a cup of Kool-Aid. Miss Frances would play the piano for assembly, and there would be a special chord she’d play that indicated when we should stand up, and another one for when we should sit down. Craft time was my favorite (well, maybe second favorite, if we had cherry Kool-Aid at snack time.) Oh, the magical things we created from popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue!
I’m sure the local churches planned it this way, but we were always excited when we were able to attend VBS at several different places. Some had daytime sessions, while others held theirs in the evening. Sometimes for two weeks, but mostly just one week. So much fun! Shhhh… don’t tell my church, but Pleasant Hill always had the best crafts!!!
After I became an adult, I no longer got to make the crafts and eat the cookies, but took on the role of teacher. I did this for years, until one fateful summer when I was assigned a group of fifth grade boys. That was my last year of teaching. Jesus loved those little boys a WHOLE lot more than I did. I’ll just leave it at that.
Check out the many programs available near you, and get your kiddos signed up to attend! (And pray for the teachers!!)
VBS THIS WEEK AT STATHAM BAPTIST CHURCH, M-F 6:30 TO 8:30!!!