Churches ready for VBS


Area churches are busy planning Vacation Bible School for the youth of Paris and youngsters of the surrounding communities.

Lake Ridge Christian church hosts VBS this week. The program begins Sunday, June 3, and continues with a closing program Friday, June 8.

This year’s program, Shipwrecked Rescued by Jesus, starts at 4 p.m. Sunday at the church, with an open house for children ages four years old through students entering the sixth grade and their families. 

Lake Ridge Pastor Nate Alexander said the open house features food and inflatables for the children. 

“We plan on having a lot of fun,” said Alexander.

Bible school is daily after that from 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, June 4, through Thursday, June 7. A one-hour closing program for the participants and their families is 6 p.m. Friday, June 8. 

Participants can register at the event Sunday or preregister by calling the church office at 217- 465-5614. More information is available online at

Alexander said each night the church will be decorated in a different shipwreck theme. The daily opening and closing portions are in the church gym. The other daily events including a snack period, games, Bible lesson and an imagination station are on a rotation basis in the church. 

The imagination station is a science-based time for arts and crafts. Participants will create gadgets to take home based on the daily lesson.

Vacation Bible School is extremely important said Alexander. “Every year the church supports the event which focuses on children,” he said. “We want them to feel like they are important to God. Our coordinators and volunteers go all out to create that atmosphere by decorating the church and hallways.”

Bell Ridge Christian Church is using the same theme. The church’s Shipwrecked VBS is 8:30-11:30 a.m. June 4 through June 8. It is open to any youth ages four year olds through eight grade and will emphasizes how Jesus rescues during hard times said Bell Ridge youth minister Don Gordon. 

He said VBS teachings center around Jesus and his love. 

“Whatever we are going through, Jesus is right here with us,” added Gordon. 

Following a brief daily opening worship service, the VBS participants break into age groups for various 25-minute sessions including crafts, snacks, games and a daily Bible lesson based on the shipwrecked theme. The weeklong event concludes 6 p.m. Friday, June 8, with a closing ceremony recapping the week’s lessons and songs. 

Also featured at the closing service are bouncy houses and food. Participants can register the morning of VBS or preregister by calling the church at 217-463-8024. Transportation is available and can be arranged during preregistration.

“This year’s lessons about scriptures help the children as they grow up. It is a very informative program,” said Gordon.

Several churches are joining together to host VBS at the Otterbein United Methodist Church. The First United Methodist Church, Paris Presbyterian Church and Vermilion Methodist Church are doing VBS from 5:45 to 8 p.m. July 8-10 at the Otterbein Church in Paris. 

Their Rolling River Rampage theme focuses on Jesus’s presence in a person’s daily life.

“Basically, the curriculum talks about Jesus being with us always especially through the hard times,” said volunteer Sherri Staley. Staley, Debbie Sturgell and the church leaders and volunteers have planned this year’s VBS.

The program is open to youngsters prekindergarten through fifth grade. The children will be split into two age groups, pre K through second grade and third grade through fifth grade. Each session starts with an opening prayer and music followed by crafts, a Bible lesson and games.

Participants may register at the beginning of the program or they can preregister and set up transportation by

calling the Otterbein Church at 217-463-2515.

“VBS is important to reach out to the area children and teach them about Jesus and how Jesus can be a friend to us all,” said Staley.

Grace Lutheran Church is planning VBS from 9-11 a.m. July 23 through July 27 for four year olds through third grade students.

This year’s theme, “Splash Canyon. God’s promise on Life’s Wild Ride” is based on 2 Corinthians 1:20 discussing God’s promises.

Organizer Jeannie Taylor said the daily Bible lessons are based on water and wild rides such as Moses and the Israelites going into the promised land and concluding with Jesus’ baptism.

Seating is limited for the event featuring arts and crafts, music, games and a refreshments and a snack made by the participants with the help from volunteer Jana Tyler. 

Seating is limited and preregistration is required by calling the Grace Lutheran Child Development Center at 217-466-1234.

“We always have a lot of energetic children during VBS week,” said Taylor, noting students at the CDC participate in the annual event.

At the end of July, the First Christian Church of Paris holds VBS. This year’s event begins July 30 and continues through Aug. 3.

It is open to all youth of Paris and surrounding communities ages three years old through fifth grade and sessions are daily from 9 to 11:45 a.m. said the Rev. Michael Dixon.

Using a Timelab theme, Dixon said children will experience an imaginary laboratory and time travel to discover Jesus from eternity past to eternity present. 

“The children will imagine traveling through time and meeting the most important man ever – a man who was not just a man, but also God. It will be interesting and fun,” said Dixon. 

Directors Kim Woods and Deena Hasler along with a host of church volunteers are working on this year’s VBS event.

Each session of the Christian Church VBS begins with church members performing a skit. 

“The skit is live action and is very special. It adds something to the neat mixture of the traditional VBS format,” said Dixon.

According to Dixon, VBS is important to the youth and the community. 

“It is teaching the youth about God and teaching the word of God and his character,” said Dixon. 

He emphasized VBS also creates healthy relationships between youth and adults. 

“Those relationships are important because children need to know they can have trust and fun with positive adults in a church experience that is both fun and enjoyable,” he said, adding, “The church experienced can be enjoyable and fun especially during VBS. People can be serious at church but we can also teach the word of God in a fun, upbeat setting.”

He also sees the VBS as family outreach to educate all about God’s love.

“The entire community is invited,” said Dixon. “Members from other churches are welcome to VBS and share the brief time with us.” 

The VBS closing ceremony is a picnic Friday, Aug. 3, in the churchyard for all participants, their families and the community. A traditional part of the picnic is a free will offering providing outcomes for the directors or Dixon if certain levels are met. 

“I have been slimed and watered down in the past,” Dixon said. “This fun helps bring down barriers and provides encouragement to everyone. We are all human and God loves us all.”

He also said the church will share and assist other churches with VBS materials.

Preregistration begins next week. An online registration form is on the church’s webpage or by calling the church at 466-3255.

Bible school at Paris First Church of the Nazarene is from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. July 16 through July 21. The theme is “Maker Fun Factory, Created by God, Built For a Purpose” and is open to youth ages prekindergarten to sixth grade. 

More information is available by calling the church office at 217-465-6030.