Children part of 'Bethlehem Village' at 2006 VBS

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
  • Public Affairs
More than 40 children and 15 volunteers were part of the chapel's "Bethlehem Village" Vacation Bible School Monday through today.
Children of different faiths and ages came together to be part of the 12 tribes of Israel that were present in Bethlehem during Jesus' time.
Protestant religious educator Marshall Billingslea and Teresa Hess, Catholic religious educator, chose this year's theme because "it's a good starting point for teaching children about Christ," Mr. Billingslea said. "Also, with the new chaplains arriving at Vance, it seemed fitting to also teach Christ's story from the beginning."
It also shows children how some of the customs of the time have been carried to today, and provides a good history for the religions, Ms. Hess added.
Children entering preschool through sixth grade were involved in music lessons; "tribe time," where they learned the day's lesson and memory verse; making toys and crafts; snack time; and a "village playground," where they participated in modernized versions of activities and games children played in Bethlehem.
Brandon Deunk, 11-year-old grandson of Linda and Howard Deunk, Lear Siegler employee, said he mostly enjoyed making and playing with large slingshots. The slingshots represented the one David used while battling the giant Goliath.
"I've had fun at Bible school," he said. "I like singing and making things, and my favorite part was shooting tennis balls through hoops with the slingshots."
Depending on their age, participants were part of one of the 12 tribes of Bethlehem, named Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin, after the 12 sons of Jacob who led each tribe.
The religious educators plan VBS annually to bring both parishes together, introduce newcomers to others and to continue the children's religious education through the summer.
"Religious education and Bible school normally run the same time school does, so this is a way to supplement the children's learning and make sure it continues year-round," Mr. Billingslea said.
But the important thing is the children are learning together about their religions in a fun, relaxing environment, said Ms. Hess.
VBS would not be possible without the help of volunteers, however. Volunteers help register the children, provide refreshments and teach the classes.
"Mainly, we just coordinate it," Mr. Billingslea said. "Most of the volunteers are the group leaders and teach the curriculum. But without any of the volunteers, this wouldn't be possible each year."
Susan Smith, a child development center employee and Vance chapel member, donates her time each year to make sure the program runs smoothly.
"I've done this for several years, because I really enjoy it," she said. "It's fun working with the children, and I really enjoy that they're having a good time while I'm educating them about the Lord."