As a child I attended The First Methodist Church here in Garland and participated in VBS each year. I can recall the excitement, fun and knowledge that was shared with us by the numerous volunteers and teachers. In those days (1950s) most mothers did not work so our VBS was during the mornings and lasted until around noon. We even had a graduation ceremony on the last day.
VBS was fun and we looked forward to it every year. As a child I was caught up in the excitement and fervor that it always part of the week. Now as an adult, who has assisted with many VBS over the last few years here at Arapaho Road, I reflect back on my experiences and noticed how it has changed.
One day I found myself researching VBS and what there is to offer the kids along with a little history and background of its roots. I soon discovered VBS had been traced back to a Methodist Church as early as 1870s in New York. In 1873, Bishop John H. Vincent proposed the movement should include educational and cultural programs, and soon other Christian groups across the country followed suit with their own summer retreats, many of them offering services for children. This was the jumpstart of what we call VBS.
Some 20 years later in response to a large number of immigrant children, a teacher from Epiphany Baptist Church in New York decided to run a Bible School. She held classes for this Bible School for six weeks during the summer. She developed her program around worship music, Bible stories and Scripture memorization, games, crafts, drawing, cooking, etc. This was such a success that she managed seven separate schools.
Today, churches all around the world participate in a form of Vacation Bible School. It started as a summer program to teach the bible to children. It soon grew, became popular and VBS curriculums were started. We still reach out to gather the kids in and make a magical week surrounding them with bible lessons. Just this year, from June 26-29, we embark on Galactic Starveyors. Here is a preview of what our AR kids will experience:
They discovered the incredible mysteries of the final frontier—right from their own backyard. The telescope became a portal through which each child encountered amazing and wonderful things designed by a Creator who is even bigger than the vastness of His creation. But the most amazing wonder discovered truly boggles the mind. The God who created everything there is—the knowable and the unknowable, the visible and the invisible—wants a relationship with us! And from the very beginning, God had a plan to restore the relationship He knew we would break.
The kids will have a magical week that culminates in a swim night. Every volunteer who embarks on this journey with the kids is excited to see their spiritual growth.