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Participants of Antioch Baptist Vacation Bible School take to the streets

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VBS-1Basseterre, St. Kitts, 13th July, 2017 (MyVueNews.com) - Hundreds of participants of the 2017 Antioch Baptist Vacation Bible School, will take to the streets of Basseterre putting on display some of the lessons learned in what is perhaps the oldest running vacation Bible schools in the federation.

 

In fact, the Antioch Baptist Church has been conducting their Vacation Bible School since 1966. This is the 51st year and is the first church in the federation to conduct a vacation Bible school.

 

Thursday, 13th July is a special day for the school.

 

Speaking of the event, Antioch Baptist Church Pastor Lincoln Connor said, “This has been a highlight of the Vacation Bible School over the years, and we call it a march of witness. We are going to be parading, showing some of the work that was done and displaying the theme of the Vacation Bible School, plus public service messages intended to create awareness within individuals.”

 

Speaking with MyVueNews.com, Pastor Lincoln Connor pointed out how important the Antioch Baptist Vacation Bible School has been to the country, as he provided context to the annual Bible school.

 

He said, “Vacation Bible School was not just a vacation Bible school. Back then, up until the early 1980s, it was one of the main summer programs. We did not have all these camps that are now being conducted. So, children and parents alike looked forward to vacation Bible school at the Antioch Baptist Church.”

 

Pastor Connor indicated that for years the summer Bible school would carry just over 1,000 children, because there were no other summer programs for children.

 

While other churches eventually started summer programs for children, the Antioch Baptist Vacation Bible School had special features not emulated by others. 

 

Connor explained, “We had North American missionaries coming in to assist. They brought a lot of puppetry, and there was a time when one group came for several years with a ventriloquist, and the children looked forward to that.”

 

It is important to understand also that the Vacation Bible School was not just for the Basseterre area.

 

“As soon as we finished in Basseterre, we took it to the rural areas, so you had a whole national affair of Vacation Bible School at the Antioch Baptist Church. So much so, almost every home, at one point, back in the 60s, 70, and the 80s, would have been impacted by the Antioch Baptist Vacation Bible School,” Pastor Connor stated.

 

In fact, Pastor Connor described the Vacation Bible School as an “Institution within itself”.

 

While the advent of several summer camps and programs have reduced the numbers attending the Vacation Bible School, Pastor Connor said, “We continue the tradition of the Vacation Bible School. It is an extension of the Sunday School, so we continue teaching children about the Bible.”

 

However, Pastor Connor noted that adjustments have been made to the program given the social environment and challenges facing youth of today.

 

He said, “We have a cooperating and twinning of social issues within the lessons. Also, we have had over the years, and more recently, guest speakers coming in. We have had members of the Police Force, and tomorrow (14th July) we are going to be having Officer Lauston Percival, and he is going to talk to the children about crime and such like.”

 

Through the Bible school, Pastor Connor said the intention is to create a positive outlook through the message and lessons of the Bible and various themes, to ‘plant a seed’ of change in individuals, while recognizing that change is incremental.

 

Connor explained, “There are those who would have heard the message, and it would impact them, and when they need to make a decision, they would draw on it. It also helps to reinforce other positive values that they might have been hearing in other places.”

 

He continued, “Even though we have these social problems, we do not believe Vacation Bible School is unimportant, or that Vacation Bible School is not helping. We believe that as long as we can teach these children, some of whom we have for years into their late teens, there is hope and good expectations.”

 

Pastor Connor pointed out that in recent years, the largest group has been the teenagers.

 

He said, “They truly love the experience, and for that, we believe something positive is happening… Even though they may stray, we believe the messages that are being planted will ultimately make a difference at some point.”


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