For many children, the lazy days of summer include hours spent at Vacation Bible School.
VBS is often one of the largest community outreaches of the year for a church congregation, taking months to plan and an army of volunteers to execute.
The start of VBS in this country is loosely traced to the 1870s, when the Methodist Episcopal Church offered summer Sunday School institutes in Lake Chautauqua, N.Y., that were open to the public.
Twenty years later, the idea had spread to New York City, where a Bible school was created that featured music, worship, Bible stories, scripture, games and crafts.
To this day, that same formula shapes most VBS programs.
These are just some of the Vacation Bible School offerings in Raleigh and Wake Forest this summer:
▪ Martin Street Baptist Church will focus on the theme “The Jesus Connection” from June 8-12.
Events are set from 6 to 8 p.m., with a light meal served at 5:30 p.m. and a snack at 7:45 p.m.
The sessions are open to the public, with offerings for preschoolers through adults. No pre-registration is required.
VBS takes place in the Martin Street Baptist Church Family Life Center at 1001 E. Martin St., Raleigh.
▪ Friendship Baptist Church will host “International Spy Academy” from June 15-19.
The program is for children age 4 to rising sixth graders, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Participants are asked to fill out an online registration form at fbcweb.net.
Friendship Baptist is located at 5510 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh.
▪ St. Mark’s United Methodist Church will present “G Force VBS” from June 22-26.
Sessions will be held each day from 9 a.m. to noon with crafts, songs, games and Bible stories.
St. Mark’s is located at 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh.
▪ Redeemer Presbyterian Church will focus on the story of Jonah and the sea from June 22-26.
The program is open to children age 4 through rising fifth graders.
Online registration must be completed at redeemerpca.net.
Redeemer Presbyterian is located at 11412 Strickland Road, Raleigh.
▪ Hope Lutheran Church will offer day and evening sessions for a week of “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power” from July 6-10.
The program will be from 9 a.m. to noon or from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The morning sessions are full, except for children of adult volunteers, but there is still room in the evening sessions.
Registration runs through June 30 at hopelutheranwf.org.
Hope Lutheran is located at 3625 Rogers Road, Wake Forest.
▪ Christ Episcopal Church will offer the theme “Daniel and the Lion’s Den” from June 22-26.
The program is open for children age 4 through fifth graders, from 9 a.m. until noon.
Registration is available at at christchurchraleigh.org.
Also at Christ Church, the conversation about pursuing social change through love will continue this month.
A meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Monday, June 15, in the church’s library to discuss further involvement with Thistle Farms and Magdalene House, a community of women who have survived prostitution, human trafficking and addiction.
In April, Becca Stevens, an Episcopalian priest and founder of Thistle Farms and Magdalene House, was the keynote speaker for a spring retreat at the church.
Christ Church is also exploring ways to work with established organizations to battle trafficking in Raleigh.
The church is located at 120 E. Edenton St., Raleigh. For details about the meeting, email email@example.com.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at firstname.lastname@example.org.