The past week Gina and I have been helping with Vacation Bible School at our church. I had absolutely the best job. I spent each evening taking video and pictures. I didn't have to prepare, I just showed up and followed the kids around taking pictures. I got lots of great shots because all of the kids wanted their picture taken.
Gina prepared snacks for all of the kids and adults every night. I helped her by faithfully eating what she prepared each evening.
The theme for VBS this year was The Kingdom of the Son, which used the Lord’s Prayer as the cornerstone of each night’s program. From the Lord’s Prayer, the children learned that God listens, provides, forgives, protects, and rules. A video skit at the start of each program provided a foundation that was built upon as each age group went to their Bible story time, where they learned the nights Bible story in depth; and their Nature center time where they learned about an animal from the Serengeti in Africa. After games, snacks and crafts everyone returned for the closing exercises where they reviewed what they had learned that night and received prizes and giveaways.
Vacation Bible Schools are offered by many churches during the summer months. The origins of VBS go back to the 1870s when the Methodist Episcopal Church began conducting summer Sunday school. In 1894 in Hopedale, Illinois, Ms. D.T. Miles started a summer Bible school class for school-age children. Her first Bible school met at a local public school, lasted for four weeks, and had 40 students.
In 1898 Eliza Hawes, director of the children's department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an "Everyday Bible School" for slum children at a rented beer parlor in New York's East Side. Hawes continued her efforts for seven years.
Dr. Robert Boville of the Baptist Mission Society, became aware of the Hawes' summer program and recommended it to other Baptist churches. Boville established a handful of summer schools which were taught by students at the Union Theological Seminary. By 1922, he had founded the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible Schools and thousands of children were attending summer Vacation Bible School classes throughout the country.
Last year an estimated 5 million children attended Vacation Bible School. Our attendance was only twentysomething. With twenty or so kids, you can really get to know them. For the Friday night closing ceremonies I made a slideshow to show on the big screen. The kids loved seeing themselves.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.