On Faith: Vacation Bible School

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Many adults remember Vacation Bible School being a memorable part of their childhood summers, even if they haven’t attended church in decades.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is typically a weeklong camp held at church sometime during the summer, and is usually for preschool to elementary school-aged children. 

VBSThe week often centers around a theme, and is filled with Bible stories, songs, skits, snacks, games, and arts and crafts.  The week of summer fun is open to the community, and many families routinely send their children to VBS, even if they don’t attend church themselves. Some churches charge a small fee, others don’t.

My research has pointed to roots of VBS going as far back as the late 1800s. What has been generally accepted is that in 1898, Eliza Hawes, director of the children’s department at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an “Everyday Bible School” for slum children at the only place available, which was a rented beer parlor in New York’s East Side.

Dr. Robert Boville of the Baptist Mission Society learned of the program, and helped establish other such schools under the leadership of college and seminary students. 

In 1922, Dr. Boville founded the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible School. The next year, Standard Publishing produced the first printed VBS curriculum.

Since then, Vacation Bible Schools have become an important part of almost every church each summer, and the summertime adventures of VBS often provide the introduction of many families to their neighborhood church.

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Newport Beach, 3303 Via Lido. (949) 673-1340, cs-nb.com. VBS will be held at First Church of Christ, Scientist 29012 Aloma, Laguna Niguel July 15-19, 9 a.m. – noon. $30 per child, children ages 3½ to 6th grade. For info, call (949) 495-4628.

Grace Fellowship Church, 3170 Red Hill Ave. Costa Mesa. (714) 557-4093 gracefellowshipchurch.org. July 22 – 26,  9 a.m. – noon. $55 per child, ages 3 years – 5th grade.

Harbor Christian Church of Newport Beach, 2401 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach. (949) 645-5781,  harborchristianchurch.com. July 29 – Aug 2.

Liberty Baptist Church, 1000 Bison Ave. Newport Beach. (949) 760-5444,   libertybaptistchurch.org. July 15 – 19. 9 a.m. – noon. $20 per child, ages 4 years to 6th grade.

Newport Center United Methodist Church, 1601 Marguerite Ave, CdM. (949) 644-0745, newportcenterumc.org.  July 29 – Aug. 2, 9 a.m. – noon. $75 for one child, $100 per family, children entering preschool through 6th grade.

Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, 798 Dover Drive, Newport Beach. (949) 548-3631,   nhlcs.org. July 15 – 19, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. – noon.

Rock Harbor Church, 3080 Airway Ste 100, Costa Mesa. (714) 384-0914, rockharbor.org. 

July 15 – 19, 9 a.m. – noon. Located at different sites around the county. Free for ages preschool – 12.

Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 3100 Pacific View Dr. CdM. (949) 644-2617. VBS will be held at First Church of Christ, Scientist 29012 Aloma, Laguna Niguel, July 15 – 19, 9 a.m. – noon. $30 per child, ages 3½ to 6th grade. For info, call (949) 495-4628.

St. James Anglican Church of Newport Beach, 3209 Via Lido, Newport Beach. (949) 999-3900, stjamesnb.org. July 29 – August 2, 9 a.m. – noon. $10 per child, ages pre-K to 5th grade.

Saint Michaels & All Angels Church, 3233 Pacific View Dr., CdM. (949) 644-0463 ext 12,

stmikescdm.org. Fridays July 12, 19, 26, and August 2, 5:30 – 7:45 p.m. $50 per child or $60 per family; includes T-shirts and dinner.


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