Vacation Bible School

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Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a specialized form of religious education which focuses on children. Churches usually hold the week long events during the summer, though the lengths of such programs may vary, and they are sometimes held during other times of the year.

History[edit]

The origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first Bible school enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks. A local school was used for classes, while an adjoining park was used for recess.[1]

In 1898 Eliza Hawes, director of the children's department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an "Everyday Bible School" for slum children at a rented beer parlor in New York's East Side. Hawes continued her efforts for seven years.[2]

Dr. Robert Boville of the Baptist Mission Society, became aware of the Hawes' summer program and recommended it to other Baptist churches. Boville established a handful of summer schools which were taught by students at the Union Theological Seminary. During one summer, one thousand 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. Enough material was provided for a five-week course for three age levels (kindergarten, primary, and junior).[3]

Today[edit]

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.

Modern programs usually consist of a week-long program of religious education which may employ Bible stories, religious song, arts and crafts, skits, or puppet shows which cater toward elementary school-aged children. Groups of local churches who do not have the resources to run VBS for the entire summer may elect to coordinate their schedules to provide continuous childcare.

Most churches provide VBS programs at no cost to those attending. Some churches, however, may charge a fee for the program. The cost, if any, is established by the church.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Standard Publishing's VBS Celebrates 80th Birthday". Lookout Magazine. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  2. ^ "VBS reinforces seasonal lessons". Standard Times. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Standard Publishing's VBS Celebrates 80th Birthday". Lookout Magazine. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 

Further reading[edit]