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Vacation Bible schools operated valleywide

Posted: July 20, 2012 5:03 p.m.
Updated: July 20, 2012 5:03 p.m.
Vacation Bible school attendees play a water game at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Vacation Bible school attendees play a water game at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Vacation Bible school attendees play a water game at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Summertime at Santa Clarita Valley churches means vacation Bible school programs, sing-alongs, water-balloon fights and... quicksand?

This summer, more than 2,000 children will participate in VBS programs across the Santa Clarita Valley. Kids at many local area congregations will learn about God in an informal and fun setting.

Sharing God’s light
Grace Baptist Church offers one of the largest vacation Bible school programs in the valley and across the country, hosting nearly 1,600 children from kindergarten through sixth grade and planning begins a year in advance.

Serving so many kids, it takes a large crew to help put it all together. In fact, the church had 500 people volunteer to help make sure this year’s program, which ran June 25-29, went smoothly.

Debbie Broyles, vacation Bible school director, has been helping with the program for more than 25 years. This year, the theme was focused around the “Gospel Light” and sharing God’s light.

“(The program) grows almost every year,” Broyles said. “It’s not just kids coming from Grace; they invite friends, too.”
Grace’s vacation Bible school offers Bible stories, crafts, singing, fun games and is free of charge. The church does take up an offering from the kids during vacation Bible school to fund a special mission project each year. This year, they worked to help raise money for a children’s orphanage in India.

“This is a way for kids to glorify God and help them fall in love with Jesus even more,” Broyles said. “The kids really love it.”

Quicksand and Christ
Bethlehem Lutheran Church also hosts a vacation Bible school each summer, welcoming approximately 350 kids annually. The theme, “Amazing Desert Journey,” was a Moroccan dessert motif that offered children the opportunity to go on a journey with Jesus. During the program, which ran July 9-13, kids sang songs, made crafts, played with water balloons and even pranked the pastor.

Bethlehem also takes up a donation from the kids for a special mission project. This year, the proceeds benefitted the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. The church challenged the children to raise $2,000; if the goal was met, they would dump quicksand on Pastor John Koczman at the closing ceremony.

Debbie D’Amico, the program director, has helped run the vacation Bible school at Bethlehem for 11 years, watching each year as the kids meet their challenge and join in on the fun of pranking the pastor in different ways.

“Our main goal is to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children,” D’Amico said. “It is a great summer thing to keep kids occupied. We are also planting a seed in young kids.”

Santa Clarita United Methodist Church will hold their vacation Bible school July 30 to Aug. 3 and will host approximately 150 children. The program, a deep sea adventure with God, offers activities, games and singing puppets to help kids learn about the love of God.

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