Vacation Bible School

Children’s Director Helen Edwards and Norma Branham, in charge of the kitchen, served eyeball jello and popcorn hands to VBS students Savannah Causey, Makayla Parker and the Branham sisters Bailey, Alexis and Cailyn. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

Summer School that Kids Look Forward To . . .

WINNSBORO – With summer at the half-way point, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is in full swing in churches across Fairfield County and the Blythewood community. The programs are usually a week long and take place in churches from the first week of summer until school starts in August. Staged around increasingly elaborate themes, the programs usually include not only Bible stories but singing, dancing, crafts, snacks, adventure activities and games. It is the summer school kids and their families look forward to.

Last week, the Church of the Nazarene in Winnsboro held their week-long VBS with the theme of Weird Animals complete with a daily Sing and Play Stampede stage production, a Critter Cafe where kids were served snacks relevant to the theme, an Imagination Station, Untamed Games, KidVid Cinema and various Bible adventures.

Like the VBS programs in other area churches, the Church of the Nazarene depends on a large staff of dedicated volunteers to make their big week happen. While VBS was traditionally held during the daytime, more churches, including the Church of the Nazarene, are holding them in the evening when working parents and church members are available for the many volunteer positions. And many offer classes for the whole family, including the adults.

“It’s lots of fun,” said Norma Branham, who was in charge of the Church of the Nazarene’s Critter Cafe where her all-volunteer staff created cookies with animal faces, popcorn people paws, jello eyes and even a bucket of green slime.

“And it’s a lot of work,” Children’s Director Helen Edwards added. “The kids really enjoy it and we enjoy making it happen. We spend months getting ready for it.”

While the intent of VBS is a fun way to connect with families in the community, it’s underlying goal is mission oriented. VBS began in the late 1890s in New York City when a woman rented a large beer hall as a place to keep kids off the street in the summer. Today, churches spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on props and supplies for the week’s program that frequently includes elaborate stage productions.

Branham said her church was able to borrow a complete set of professionally made stage props from a church in Columbia that had used it for their VBS with the same theme earlier this year.

“We all work very hard to make our VBS relevant and fun for the kids,” said Branham. “Now it’s time to start planning for next summer!”