First Baptist’s Bible school escapes to the islands
By Susan Shinn
If the word “elaborate” doesn’t immediately spring to mind when you think of Vacation Bible School, then you haven’t been to VBS at First Baptist Church.
Last week, more than 150 students ó with the help of 80 volunteers ó traveled to “Outrigger Island.”
Rising kindergarteners through sixth-graders were treated to a week on the islands with recreation, crafts, music, Bible study and snack time.
“You can never have enough people to help,” said Sandy Quinn, who served as director.
The picture-perfect weather only added to the island theme.
Children were asked to bring canned goods for Rowan Helping Ministries each day. As of Wednesday, the church had collected more than 250 cans.
On Friday, students said “Aloha” to parents with a family night.
Thanks to Katie French, the fellowship hall was decorated to the hilt with beach balls, tiki torches, brown crinkly rocks, palm trees, flamingoes, a giant pineapple ó even a waterfall surrounded by tropical plants.
“The kids right way get into the Outrigger Island theme,” French said. “They’re excited and ready to go, and they have a greater respect for what’s going on here.”
Each morning, the children gathered together and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the pledge to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible.
The week’s Bible theme was based on Psalm 86:11 ó know the truth, speak the truth, live the truth.
It was a lot of work, to be sure, but a lot of fun, too.
“This is the most elaborate one we’ve done,” admitted the Rev. Rob Kerr, minister of education. “This is pretty much how we do everything here. It creates a more exciting learning environment for the kids. It gets them out of their everyday world.”
Some even wanted to know, Kerr said, if there was going to be Bible school for a second week.
(Surely the exhausted teachers must be relieved that the answer is “no.”)
Kerr noted that more than a dozen different publishers offer Bible school packages. Nowadays, most VBS students cycle through activity stations, taking some of the load off teachers.
“Some volunteers have taken the week off work to come to Bible school,” Kerr said. Older kids also served as helpers.
“It’s a lot of color and a lot of fun,” Kerr added, “but we still want to put forth the Biblical message. The Gospel is an adventure. Christian life is an adventure. At Bible school, everybody has a place and everybody has a place in the kingdom.”
Dorcas Osborne has been teaching Bible school for 50 years, so she’s pretty much seen it all.
She was one of the second-grade teachers, and their classroom was filled with sand pails and a huge umbrella, with beach towels spread onto the floor.
“It’s all about the one way,” Osborne said, wearing a blue T-shirt, blue capris and a blue lei around her neck. “God created this beautiful world we live in. He wants us to appreciate it and take care of it.
“It is just a joy to serve.”