Vacation Bible School.

Three words and “poof,” I am back in Roanoke at Grandin Court Baptist Church, a hole-in-the-center butter cookie wedged tightly onto my pinkie, red Kool-aid stains around my mouth, stand up and sit down piano chords ringing in my ears, hammering away at some craft to take to my mother at week’s end. It was at the end of a week of VBS, on the second verse of Hymn 347 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal, “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go,” that I slipped out of a pew and tiptoed to the front of the sanctuary to tell my pastor, Charlie Watkins, I resolved to be a Christian. Over 50 years have passed, and it seems like yesterday. VBS is a week for making memories. This year these memories will be made July 9-13.

Included in the memories are Bible stories, of course. As much Bible learning and faith training takes place in one week of VBS as in five or more Sundays in Sunday school. With television and Internet a staple in the visual and intellectual diet of almost every child, VBS is a small investment in stories about a different kind of life and kingdom.

Some of the fastest learning takes place through music. The songs learned in VBS will be with our children for years into the future.

VBS is also a week of friendships and recreation. Every VBS day includes activities that allow the students to deepen old friendships and cultivate new ones. This happens on the church’s playground as well as in the classroom.

None of this is possible without teachers and other volunteers. Our able directors, Lisa Cipolletti and Kristina Barbier, are active in recruitment. If they call you, please agree to serve. Better yet, call them and volunteer. You will be a blessing and get a blessing.

We hope that the children and grandchildren of River Road members will be a part of VBS this July. But VBS is one of the best ways we can introduce guests to our church. I believe the children’s ministry of River Road Church is an open door through which we can invite children and their parents to get to know us and all the good things going on here. Invite a neighbor or friend to enroll their children in our Bible School. Give us their name so we can do the same.

It’s time to make some memories.


Originally published in the May edition of the Explorer.