VBS–Something Old, Something New
By LORETTA FULTON
“Destination Dig: Unearthing the Truth About Jesus,” “Anchored: Deepening Faith in God,” “Rocky Railway: Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through.”
Sound familiar? A year after COVID-19 shut everything down, an old favorite, Vacation Bible School, is returning, with its enticing themes and promises of adventure, fun, worship, and learning. Some churches are going totally old school, hosting VBS in their facilities over several days, but others are experimenting with different formats, from one-day events to multiple days spread out over the summer in various locations.
One of those experimenting with a different format is First Baptist Church, which will host Vacation Bible School in six different parts of town in June and July. Those sites may be backyards, drive-ways, front yards, or cul-de-sacs, said Becky Tucker, pastor for children & women’s ministry at First Baptist.
“This will allow our children, their friends, and their neighbors to join in this wonderful week of
learning more about the Bible and Jesus,” Tucker said.
First Central Presbyterian and University Church of Christ both are experimenting with one-day Vacation Bible School. UCC will host its event 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 5 at the church, 733 E.N. 16th St., said Jennifer Welch, children’s minister. VBS will be held outside and lunch will be provided. Theme is “God is Almighty!” and is based on the story of Jonah and the whale.
“Children and families will be invited back the next day for one more Whale Tail, worship and a pizza Lunch in the courtyard,” Welch said.
VBS will be held at First Central Presbyterian Church, 400 Orange St., 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 31, said Grace Sosa, coordinator of children’s ministry. A year after putting together an alternative VBS, Sosa is excited about this year’s event.
“After having a year of online Sunday school, an online Christmas pageant, and an online VBS, we are so glad to be back in person this summer,” she said.
Highland Church of Christ is foregoing Vacation Bible School this summer, opting instead for a series of family activities such as a play date and lunch at the zoo, family picnic, ice cream social, and other events.
“The disconnectedness of COVID has been challenging for all of us,” said Suzetta Nutt, children’s minister at Highland. “So our goal this summer is to provide times and places where families and kids can reconnect with each other and with the church community.”
Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 701 Pioneer Drive, is hosting the kind of Vacation Bible School that most people grew up with: a multi-day experience at the church, June 6-9, said Cristi Stanton, minister of children. Pioneer Drive is using the Destination Dig theme, published by Lifeway Christian Resources. Children will become pint-sized archaeologists as they unearth the truth about Jesus, based on Jeremiah 29:23, which says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Last year, Pioneer Drive, like most churches, nixed the traditional VBS and instead used a 2020 VBS curriculum during Sunday School over a five-week period. The kids loved it, Stanton said, but everyone is excited about returning to an old-school Vacation Bible School.
“Cookies and lemonade and the whole thing!” Stanton said.
Each day, children will drop coins into buckets, with the collection being donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, in honor of BBBS leader Mark Rogers, who was killed in a traffic accident in March. Children attending Vacation Bible School each year take up a collection for a charity. Rogers was a member of Southern Hills Church of Christ, but had close connections with members at Pioneer Drive, Stanton said.
“That’s just where the Lord led us,” she said.
Following is a partial list of Vacation Bible School events. All are free. If you wold like to add a church to the list, send information to email@example.com
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
1333 N. Third St.
Theme: Destination Dig
Dates: Contact Jennifer, 675-8105, for dates, times, and locations
WYLIE BAPTIST CHURCH
6097 Buffalo Gap Road
Theme: Treasured, published by Group
Dates: 9 a.m.-noon June 7-10
Registration: online at https://vbspro.events/p/events/9d7394
UNIVERSITY CHURCH OF CHRIST
733 E.N. 16th St.
Theme: God is Almighty! published by Christianbook
Dates: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 5
Registration: online at http://www.uccabilene.org or day of VBS
SOUTHERN HILLS CHURCH OF CHRIST
3364 Buffalo Gap Road
Theme: Movie musical
Dates July 27-28 evenings
Details: Church members are filming a musical for movie night. More details will be coming.
HIGHLAND CHURCH OF CHRIST
435 Highland Ave.
Details: Highland is hosting several family events throughout the summer. Contact Suzetta Nutt, children’s minister, for more details.
HILLCREST CHURCH OF CHRIST
650 E. Ambler Ave.
Theme: Jonah, produced by the church
Dates: 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 14-15 and 7-8 p.m. June 16 (video, ice cream, and bouncy houses)
WYLIE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
3430 Antilley Road
Theme: Rocky Railway
Dates: 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 27; 9 a.m.-noon June 28-30
Registration: Opening night or http://www.wyliemethodist.org
ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH
2801 Antilley Road
Theme: God’s Wonder Lab, published by Concordia Supply
Dates: 5:30-8 p.m. June 21-24
Registration: online, http://www.zion-abilene.org
Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene