Area churches prepare for Bible schools

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2000

For many churches and children around the Miss-Lou summer means one thing — vacation Bible school. Churches often use the summer break to help children develop their relationship with God.

&uot;The purpose of vacation Bible school is to reach children for Christ,&uot; said Debbie Fuller, financial secretary of First Baptist Church of Natchez.

The theme of this year’s vacation Bible school is the Fantastic Ocean Odyssey — the same as this year’s convention-wide Southern Baptist theme for VBS, Fuller said.

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Parkway Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Vidalia are also using the ocean theme for VBS this year.

Ferrel Marr, music minister at First Baptist Church of Vidalia, said VBS themes have become more creative over the years, to better reach today’s children.

The program has a sub-theme of &uot;Diving into God’s Faithfulness.&uot;

All of the stories, crafts, food and activities incorporate an ocean theme, Marr said.

And classrooms are all going to be decorated to depict a certain site, such as the Atlantic Ocean or the Antarctic, he added.

For churches, VBS is an intensive way to reach children that often cannot be accomplished during the school year.

&uot;At no other time to you have the kids for that length of time,&uot; Marr said. &uot;You can really zero in on the material. It’s a really concentrated effort to reach the kids.&uot;

This concept works no matter what literature a church is using or what denomination is offering the program, he added.

Anita LoDico, interim director of Christian education at First Presbyterian Church of Natchez, said her church will be offering a &uot;Camp Can-Do&uot; VBS program for this summer.

This program will teach children how to be missionaries in their own communities and focus on things children can do to help, she said.

Jefferson Street Methodist church is also using the &uot;Camp Can-Do&uot; program.

LoDico said children enjoy having a VBS program to attend each summer. &uot;They love it,&uot;&160;she said. &uot;They look forward to it every year.&uot;

St. Mary Basilica is offering a &uot;Let the Son Shine&uot; VBS program this summer.

&uot;(VBS is) an important part of our church’s educational ministry,&uot; said Linda Dollar, church secretary.

The St. Mary VBS will focus on celebrating God’s work in daily life, God’s word in the Bible and Catholics’ response to God’s word.