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Vacation bible schools abound

With summer officially here for thousands of schoolchildren, many parents are looking for ways to get their children out of the house — and maybe have a little fun themselves.

Enter vacation Bible school, being held at several churches throughout Suffolk this summer, beginning this week. Some of the Bible schools are only for children, but most have lessons for all ages.

“We’re really encouraging the parents to stay and be involved,” said Cindy Robinson, vacation Bible school chairman for a four-church cooperative that includes West End Baptist Church, Suffolk Christian Church, Suffolk Presbyterian Church and Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. The churches combine efforts to create and produce their own vacation Bible school, which begins with writing their own curriculum.

“I think vacation Bible school is kind of an educational process,” Robinson said. “It’s a nice, relaxed learning experience where you can invite your neighbors, just have fun and explore your Christian way of life a little deeper than you might at other times.”

Most vacation Bible schools include a variety of activities, including crafts, drama, music and Bible study, as well as meals and snacks. Some, including the four-church cooperative, also incorporate a service-learning aspect. Last year, students at the combined Bible school collected food items for families in need. This year, they will conduct a dessert auction to benefit Casa Esperanza (House of Hope), an Eastern Shore mission that serves migrant workers.

“It’s a wonderful time to expand our church community,” Robinson said. “The kids get more interaction with the adults that will be influences in their lives. We feel like that’s really important.”

The cooperative’s theme this year is “Climb Aboard the Disciple-Ship,” exploring what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, Robinson said.

“It’s more relaxed than the atmosphere you have in your typical worship service on a Sunday morning,” she said.

Below is a list of some vacation Bible schools in the area. Check with your church or a nearby church if they are not listed.

-Liberty Spring Christian Church, 4213 Whaleyville Blvd., will have vacation Bible school June 21-25 from 9 a.m. to noon each day. The theme is “Saddle Ridge Ranch: Roundin’ Up Questions, Drivin’ Home Answers.” For children in first through 12th grades. Call 934-2845 for more information.

-First Baptist Church Mahan Street, 112 Mahan St., will have vacation Bible school from 6 to 8 p.m. June 21-25 for ages 5 through adult. The theme is “Step Up and Go Green for Jesus.” All are welcome. Call 539-6623 for more information.

-Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1656 Copeland Road, will have vacation Bible school June 21-25 from 6 to 9 p.m. Adults and children ages 4 and older are welcome. Learn about Egypt and Joseph’s journey from prison to palace. For more information, call 657-6313.

-Antioch Church, 23011 Antioch Road, Windsor, will have the Egypt File Vacation Bible School from 6 to 9 p.m. June 21-25. The week culminates in a family festival June 27. For more information, call 242-4233.

-Shiloh Baptist Church, 9000 Fire Tower Road, will hold vacation Bible school June 21-25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The theme is “Hero Headquarters.” Call 357-6564 for more information.

-Little Mount Zion Baptist Church, 3288 Pruden Blvd., will have vacation Bible school June 28 to July 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Call 539-1991 for more information.

-Ebenezer United Methodist Church will have vacation Bible school June 28 to July 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. The theme is “High Seas Expedition.” Call 238-2359 for more information.

-First Baptist Church will hold vacation Bible school July 12-16 from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 539-4152 for more information.

-Nansemond River Baptist Church will have vacation Bible school Aug. 8-12 from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. The theme is “High Seas Expedition.” Children will participate in a hands-on mission project that lets children make blankets to send to children in other countries. Call 484-3423 for more information.