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Vacation Bible schools a popular tradition
In the pulpit
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With the advent of summer, many churches in and around Liberty County are having vacation Bible schools.
As area churches have expanded and interest in vacation Bible school has grown, it has gone from being an event for children to a family affair.
The history of vacation Bible school can be traced back to Hopedale, Ill. In 1894, D.T. Miles, a public school teacher and Sunday school teacher, started a daily Bible school for children during the summer. The first Bible school had an enrollment of 40 students and lasted four weeks. Now, vacation Bible schools are held nationwide during the summer months.
For some time, the sessions usually were in the morning and only children attended. Although some churches still have morning-only vacation Bible school, others have evening session that allow working adults to participate.
The schools help children learn while they have fun. Students of all ages have opportunities to participate in many activities, such as singing religious song, arts and crafts, skits, mime routines, praise dances, games and puppet show. At the end of vacation Bible school, some churches have a celebratory picnic or members take a trip to a theme park.
The week’s lessons and activities are centered on a themed curriculum designed by the churches or by independent publishing houses. The information contained in vacation Bible school kits makes for easy preparation and includes marketing tools.
Many churches decorate their facilities to fit the theme. Some local church’s themes for this year’s vacation Bible schools include Saddle Ridge Ranch, Route 254 and High Sea Expedition; Galactic Blast and Praise Party; Soul Survivors on Danger Island; Step up and Go Green for Jesus; and SonQuest Rainforest.
Some churches use vacation Bible schools as an outreach event. It is a great way to establish relationships with area residents during the summer months.
Most churches have their vacation Bible schools in June. Last week, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Hinesville, Allenhurst Presbyterian Church, Gum Branch Baptist Church and Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church in Allenhurst had their schools. First Baptist Church in Hinesville will have vacation Bible school June 14-18, and Hinesville First United Methodist Church has school June 21-25.
Churches in some communities come together for one big vacation Bible school, combining resources and members to promote fellowship. Each year, churches in these groups take turns hosting the event.
Vacation Bible school is a much-anticipated event in local churches. For many, it has become a tradition and a wonderful way to lead potential congregants to Christ.

Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
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