UNION — What does the Hebrew word for frankincense look like? For myrrh? For olives? For nuts? For bread?
Children who attend Vacation Bible School at Bethlehem United Methodist Church will get the chance to see those words through a display the church created for last year’s Vacation Bible School and plans to show again this year.
VBS Director Pam Cavender said that the display includes bowls containing food items such as bread, grapes, nuts, and olives as well as frankincense and myrrh, two of the gifts the Wise Men brought Jesus Christ in honor of His birth. She said there is a card with each bowl and on the card is the Hebrew word for the item in the bowl above its English translation.
Cavender said the Hebrew words, written in the letters from the Hebrew alphabet, were obtained by Chris Prince, a friend and co-worker of hers. She said that Prince, a historian and genealogist who lives in Whitmire, went online and got the Hebrew spelling for each of the items on display.
The display was a big hit with the children who attended last year’s Vacation Bible School and with their parents. Cavender said the children were fascinated with seeing the Hebrew words for both commonplace items like bread as well as for items like frankincense and myrrh from the story of Christ’s birth. She said that the display also impressed their parents who got to see it at last year’s commencement night.
Hebrew is the language the Old Testament was originally written in and the stories of the men and women of both the Old Testament and the New Testament are major features of what Cavender said will be a “countywide” Vacation Bible School at Bethlehem United Methodist Church.
“Bethlehem United Methodist Church is a small rural church, however we are big in our love for Jesus Christ and our outreach mission,” Cavender said. “Vacation Bible School for us is another way to reach people for Jesus Christ. So a countywide VBS does that.”
This year’s Vacation Bible School is called “WOW” or “Workshop of Wonders — Imagine, Build, Grow, Work, and Walk with God” and will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, July 28-Friday, Aug. 1.
Cavender said that Bethlehem United Methodist Church will begin this year’s Vacation Bible School with a countywide Family Fun Day from 3-5 p.m. this Saturday in the church Family Life Center at 1622 Kelly Road, Union. She said the event, which will also include registration for Bible School, will feature a giant slide and games followed by a “VBS Kickoff Parade” at 5 p.m. Hot dogs and pizza will be served at 6 p.m. following the parade.
“Our County Wide Family Fun Day for our VBS Kick-Off will begin at 3 p.m. with VBS registration,” Cavender said. “While the parents are registering the children can be sliding on the giant slide and playing other games. Church members and parents will be decorating cars for the parade. The parade is new for us.
“One of our church members, Robbie Littlejohn, remembers when he was little boy and they did VBS parades in Ottaray,” she said. “He has such fond memories he wanted us to try it in our community. So he has arranged for fire trucks and police cars to join us. We will decorate our cars with balloons, posters, streamers, and window paint. Members, parents, and children will ride around the Kelton community with VBS flyers and telling children to come to our VBS starting at 5 p.m. Afterwards we will eat pizza and hot dogs.”
Cavender said the goal of the Family Fun Day and Vacation Bible School is introduce the children in attendance to the good news of Jesus Christ.
“We want to reach children who are not attending church,” Cavender said. “If a giant slide, a big parade and food will get them to our VBS, then our ‘Bible Story Drama’ each day will bring the word of Christ to them and spark their interest in Jesus. Then Jesus is in charge and we will nurture that growth.”
Cavender said the Bible Story Drama is one of two ways the church will bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the children attending Vacation Bible School. She described it as “a realistic and interactive Bible Story Drama that we will have each day telling a Bible story in a room decorated back in the biblical time. The room has a tent, cushions, biblical mural, and marketplace items such as baskets, fabric, jewelry, stoneware, food (grain, flour, grapes, and olives), coins, and items for the Bible that day. The actors are dressed in biblical costumes with speaking parts.”
The Bible Story Drama Tellers will be Jean Horne, Wanda Littlejohn, Mike Scales, Susan Scales, along with a cast of actors playing the characters from the Bible.
Cavender said the church presented the Bible Story Drama program for the first time last year and both the children and the cast got a great deal out of it.
“This is our second year that we have used this Bible Story Drama setup,” Cavender said. “The children seem to get so much from the dramas and the cast members love their reaction.”
In addition to the Bible Story Drama program, Cavender said there will be a “discovery station, music, and puppet ministry which will use a workshop theme to incorporate imagine, build, grow, work, and walk with God theme.”
Cavender said that “both will show the children how ordinary people were extraordinary with God. So they can be too!”
To oversee the Family Fun Day and Vacation Bible School the church formed a committee that includes Cavender as director; Littlejohn and his wife Wanda in charge of the parade and Fun Day food; Marie Knox in charge of Fun Day and flyers; Ted and Kathy Wilbanks responsible for the Discovery station and Preschool; Polly Perry (communications); Andrea Justice (crafts); Cavender, Ted Wilbanks, and Nikki Harris (decorations); Harris and Ted Wilbanks (video and pictures); Stan and Karen Gallman; and the Food Committee composed of Linda Heatherly, Polly Perry, Brenda Harris, Karen Gallman, and Minnie McGraw.
Many other church members are working behind the scenes working on all the details and will be responsible for watching over the children.
Cavender said the involvement of so many church members is a reflection of the fact that Vacation Bible School is part of the church’s overall outreach effort.
“Our VBS is one more way to disciple for Jesus Christ,” Cavender said.