Now that it is springtime, it is also time to start preparing for Vacation Bible School. Soon school will let out for the summer and there will be additional activities needed to fill the days for school aged children.
Usually during the months of June, July and sometimes August, churches are preparing to entertain children for a week of fun, food and learning.
VBS can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894 when a Sunday School teacher, D.T. Miles, who was also a public school teacher, felt limited in teaching the children about the Bible. Thus she started a daily Bible School to teach children during the summer. She held classes in a local school and recess at an adjoining park.
In 1898 Virginia Sinclair Hawes, director of the children’s department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an ‘Everyday Bible School’ for neighborhood children during the summer at a rented beer parlor in New York’s East Side. There is a bronze plaque honoring her efforts located in her hometown of Charlottesville Virginia in the foyer of First Baptist Church.
Dr. Robert Boville of the Baptist Mission Society, became aware of the Hawes’ summer program and recommended it to other Baptist churches. Boville then established a handful of summer schools, which were taught by students at the Union Theological Seminary. During one summer, 1,000 students were enrolled in five different schools. In 1922, he founded the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible School.
One year later, Standard Publishing produced the very first printed VBS curriculum for three age levels (kindergarten, primary, and junior).
Today, many churches run their own Vacation Bible School programs without being under the umbrella of a national organization. Some churches opt to use themed curriculum programs from their respective denominations or independent publishing houses, which provide easy preparation and include marketing tools.
The Nashville Pride asks that you submit church VBS dates and themes so that neighborhood children may participate. Send information to <npnews@ comcast.net>.