For The Dialog
Vacation Bible School (for adults only) proves popular at St. Ann’s in Bethany Beach
BETHANY BEACH – Liz and Bill Slyne extended their stay here by two nights so she could take a step back in time.
“When I saw there was a Vacation Bible School this week, I said, ‘We can’t go home on Thursday. We have to stay until Saturday,” Liz Slyne said.
What drew her attention wasn’t an ordinary Vacation Bible School. This one showed that such programs are not just for kids. It was St. Ann Parish’s second Vacation Bible School for Grown-ups, which ran June 22-26.
About 30 adults, mostly senior citizens, attended the program that focused on the Mass.
Like traditional Vacation Bible School programs for children, the evening sessions included snacks (sub sandwiches and chips at the start) followed by an educational program, singing and crafts.
The parish also participates in an ecumenical Vacation Bible School for children.
The idea of attending Vacation Bible School made Liz Slyne reminisce about growing up Catholic in Beaumont, Texas, where her church did not have such a program for children, but many of her friends who were Baptist, Methodist or of other denomination invited her to the programs at their churches.
“That was my summer, going to Vacation Bible School,” she said. “This is really reliving my childhood.”
It was the second Vacation Bible School for Grown-ups at St. Ann’s, according to Molly Roach, director of religious education. She brought the idea with her when she came to St. Ann’s from Philadelphia. She had wanted to try such a program there but the idea was not well received.
When she mentioned it to the Adult Faith Formation Committee at St. Ann’s, “They said, ‘Great. Let’s do it.’”
Last year’s initial effort drew 17 students, said Kathy Di-Sabatino, who helped organize the program, “so to get 30 this year is great.”
Members of the church staff and the Adult Faith Formation Committee presented the sessions and led craft projects. Each evening included a different topic, ending Friday with a tour of the church and explanations of what is where in the church and why it’s there.
On June 23, during a session on The Liturgy of the Word, which includes readings from Old and New Testaments, the Gospels, the Psalms, intercessions and the Creed, the craft project was to make bookmarks for keeping one’s place while reading the Bible.
Judy Murphy was quick in making hers, outpacing the directions of JoAnna Keller who led the craft project. Murphy also added a touch Keller hadn’t included. On her bookmark Murphy printed this message: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
She may have relied on her experiences as a child, growing up Protestant. “I used to go to church camps every summer,” she said, so she did many crafts over the years.
Many of the women who participated said they had volunteered with Vacation Bible Schools for children or at their previous churches, but that this was their first to attend as a student.
“It’s like a flip, or a twist that I’m on the other end, attending a Vacation Bible School and enjoying it,” said Lynne Jones. “God’s got a great sense of humor.”