This week was Vacation Bible School for the Chatt community, held at Zion Chatt this year. The two churches in Chatt, Zion Lutheran and the Chattanooga United Methodist Church, take turns hosting the annual week-long event and this year was Zion’s turn. They have combined to host very successful and popular Bible School programs for many years and volunteers of all ages, from both churches, help out.
This year’s Bible School theme was “Shipwrecked—Rescued by Jesus” and those in charge are to be commended and thanked for putting together yet another successful Bible School. The church and basement were decorated with an island theme. Days were packed with Bible stories, upbeat songs, prayer, creative crafts, fun activities, snacks, and more.
Last year I took our granddaughter Chloe to our Chatt-area Bible School, her very first time attending Bible School. However, this year Chloe’s church had their Bible School the same week and she was not able to attend here. But I volunteered to help out this year at Zion for several days, assisting with the pre-K/Kindergarten class.
A lot of kids attended this year. There were over 70 there on Wednesday and we had 16 in our class that day. We kept them moving and I don’t think any of them were ever bored.
Bible School is a lot different today than when I attended nearly 60 years ago. My goodness, that was a long time ago!
I spent my summer days with my Miller grandparents. Their neighbor, Helen Jean White, would pick me up at the Miller farm and take me, along with her two children, Martha and Charles, to Zion Chatt’s Vacation Bible School. She would drive us in what I thought was the coolest car, a Pontiac Woody station wagon. For me it was like riding a small bus to Chatt. Back then Helen Jean taught both Sunday School and Bible School at Zion Chatt.
I don’t know if my memory is correct, since it has been a long time since I was little, but I think we had Bible School for two weeks one year. There were a few years that I recall it was a day-long event and we took our lunch each day.
Now we move each class from area to area, where specific persons tell a Bible story, teach the music, lead activities, or hand out the snacks. But back in my day we stayed in our room/area the whole time and had the same teacher for everything. The only time we left our table was for the opening session and for activities and play-time that was held outdoors.
Outdoor activities I remember consisted of games like Red Rover, The Farmer in the Dell, London Bridges Falling Down, Drop the Hankie, tag, and kick-ball. Now activities involve kiddie pools full of water and some ball games. The water felt really good for the kids this year since it was so hot.
It is sort of a joke around our church but you can count on Bible School week being the hottest week of the summer. Monday and Tuesday didn’t let us down this year. It was very hot and humid. Dreadfully hot, in fact, and downright uncomfortable. It helped that Bible School was held in the mornings, the cooler part of the day, if there was a cooler part of the day. There was a string of years some time ago when Bible School week was the week we got lots and lots of rain—usually so much rain that the basement would flood.
But that would never stop us from having Bible School. Rain or shine. Wet or dry. Hot and humid.
Bible School crafts have come a long way. Ruth, our crafty lady at church, comes up with some great craft ideas. This year the kids made terrariums, wind chimes, and necklaces, as well as stuffing bears to give away. Back in my day I remember gluing pop-sickle sticks together to make a cross, plastic canvas projects, and other crafts that involved cutting, pasting, and coloring. Pretty simple stuff compared to today’s crafts.
The music is much more upbeat today, too. The songs have a brisk tempo and the kids get to use motions and move around to the music. They really get into the music and have a great time. It is amazing how quickly they learn the songs.
But the most important thing about Bible School are the Bible stories and showing how they relate to the kids [and all of us] today. We never forget that part of Bible School and of our mission.
A big thank you to everyone who helped make Shipwrecked a very successful Bible School week.