Local churches offer fun, worship for children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NATCHEZ — Wide-eyed preschoolers listened to the Old Testament story of Joseph while squatting around a cattle ranch campfire on D’Evereaux Drive Tuesday morning.

Although the fire was a flashlight with flame-colored tissue paper, and the ranch was a First Baptist Church classroom, the activity was a memorable way to expose children to Bible stories at FBC’s Vacation Bible School.

Many local churches kicked off VBS this week, which helps kids foster their relationship with God while giving parents the week off.

Church communities often use themes to make VBS active and interesting for the children. The FBC’s theme this year is “Saddle Ridge Ranch.”

FBC VBS Director Dianne Jordan said the theme’s slogan is “rounding up questions (about God) and driving home answers.”

In addition to constructing their own Bible story-telling campsite, children at FBC colored their own blank bandanas to illustrate how God also creates each child uniquely.

Bible students also snacked on rawhide cow pies, which consisted of vanilla and chocolate pudding in a mini piecrust.

“This place is so much fun,” 6-year-old Camp Holder said with a vanilla pudding mustache.

Although some of the younger children might be more concerned with snack time than spirituality, Jordan said planting a seed at an early age is important. VBS instills Christian values, teaches scripture and helps children feel good about themselves, she said.

“No matter how tall or short, or what color you are, (VBS teaches children that) God loves you and accepts you for who you are,” Jordan said.

Mississippi College student Chase Caldwell interns with seventh and eighth graders at FBC Bible school for community service credit. He said it is important to teach the congregation’s youth because children are the future of the church, and might not get Bible instruction elsewhere.

“You don’t know what (scripture lessons) they get at school. Some don’t get any,” Caldwell said.

“And some of them don’t come from the best home situations.”

Themes of other churches include Step Up and Go Green For Jesus at the Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hero Headquarters at the Morning Star Baptist Church and High Sea’s Expedition at St. Mary Basilica.

In addition to exploring their Christian identities, Jordan said VBS is a great way for kids to make friends from other schools.

Other church VBS programs include: Greater New Zion Baptist Church at 22 East Oak St. from 8:30 a.m. to noon until Friday. Mount Zion Baptist Church at Old Washington Road from 9 to 11 a.m. until Friday. Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 228 N Martin Luther King Jr. St. from 5 to 7 p.m. until Friday. Morning Star Baptist Church at 1205 Liberty Road from 6 to 8:30 p.m. until Saturday. Second Union Baptist Church at 122 Pinemount Road from 6 to 8 p.m. until Friday. Vidalia First Baptist Church at 100 Hickory St., Vidalia from 8 to 11 a.m. until Friday.

St. Mark Baptist Church No. 2 at 9 Saint Mark Road from 9 a.m. to noon until Friday. St. Mary Basilica at 105 S. Union St. from 8:30 a.m. to noon until Friday. Jefferson Street United Methodist Church at 511 Jefferson St from 9 to 11:30 a.m. until Friday. First Baptist, Ferriday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. until Friday. Grace United Methodist Church at 2 Fatherland Road from 9 to 11:30 a.m. from June 28 to July 2.