Strains of Alice Cooper's "Schools Out" refrain and a rocking, hand-clapping, foot-stomping version of "Jesus Loves me this I Know" slammed through the Church Lady's head while previewing Marco's Vacation Bible Schools (VBS).
Youth and children leaders from six Marco churches and the folks from Child Evangelism Fellowship have been working since last summer to provide an exciting summer of fun and faith. The VBSes are free and open to the public; each different and unique. They include: a VBS for the whole family; an art-centered VBS; an amazing desert journey; a Babylon market place; high-powered praise and worship; a "trip" to a National Park; and exciting stories about real missionaries.
The last day for Collier County schools is Wednesday, June 6. Marco Lutheran Church will host the first VBS June 10 to June 13. Area parents, grandparents and guardians are invited to join their kids as they have fun and learn about Jesus at the "SonSurf Family Bible Bash."
The three-day event includes dinner. Children and adults will discover who Jesus is and how much He loves them through craft, games, song and Bible stories. On Wednesday, parents and children are invited to attend the contemporary worship service, Current, after the VBS. Attendees will share VBS songs with the congregation.
Marco Lutheran Church member and grandmother of 11, Bonnie Kirkley has fond memories of Sunday school and VBS; this year, Kirkley will attend with her two of her granddaughters, Delaney, 8, and Makenzie, 9, of Orlando.
"I'm looking forward to building warm memories at Bible Bash," she said. "Love is what we do not what we say."
The approach has changed at Wesley United Methodist Church, and this year's VBS will focus on the arts. The "Fine Arts Camp" for children will be hosted June 11 to 15.
"We have a large number of talented artists in our congregation and we want them to have an opportunity to share their talent with the children of Marco Island," said Betsy Francis, director of Christian education.
The children will learn how God is at work through the arts as they paint, sculpt, play music, sing and dance.
Carolyn Burger, artist and former teacher, will participate. She has taught Bible lessons in the past and looks forward to sharing her love of art with the children. She plans to do watercolors and acrylics.
On Sunday, June 17, the children will participate in the 9 and 10:30 a.m. worship services. There will be a gallery show of their creations after each service.
St. Mark's "Amazing Desert Journey: Where Jesus Leads us Home" VBS will also be held June 11 to 15, but in the evening. Newly arrived, Janet Tunnell, a seminary student,will oversee the program.
Leading VBS is something new for her. "I look forward to working with the other experienced leaders and providing a fun-filled spiritual journey for the children," she said.
The children will learn how Jesus walks with them. Dinner is included.
Marco Presbyterian Church's "Babylon: Daniel's Courage in Captivity" VBS, June 18 to 21 will also include dinner. Children will deepen their love of God and His Word as they join Bible hero Daniel in Babylon. The children will explore the exotic sights and smells in a Babylonian bazaar as they learn that they're not much different from Daniel and his friends, who kept their faith in a faithless culture.
This will be home-schooled high school senior Christiana Brown's sixth year helping at VBS. "I want the kids to have the meaningful and fun experience that I had in VBS and most importantly for them to get to know Jesus," she said. The church will host a grand finale during the 9 a.m. Sunday school hour and at the 10:30 a.m. worship service followed by a VBS celebration barbecue on June 24.
The Family Church's — Marco Campus will host "Praise: Where Kids Get Down and Lift God High" VBS. June 25 to June 29.
"We are excited to offer another high-energy, moving and grooving VBS," said Children's Pastor Josh Hogue.
Each evening through skits, games, crafts and music the kids will learn an attribute of God and then praise Him in response. Children will learn to trust Jesus as their all-powerful guide and Savior at San Marco Catholic Church's July 9 to 13 "SonRise National Park" VBS. They will discover the most important survival skill of all: they can always depend on Jesus and His promises of true peace, true riches, true power, true love and true hope.
Volunteer Roseanne Christ looks forward to helping at VBS. "Last year was so much fun watching the girls and boys learn about Jesus," wrote Christ in an email. "I look forward to share the gospel with them again this year."
The final summer VBS will be the "5-Day Club at the YMCA". Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) will conduct two sessions one July 16 to 20 and another July 23 to 27.
The children will be lead by a group of teen summer missionaries from Naples and Marco Island. The teens are members of Christian Youth in Action a ministry of CEF. They began their pre-training in March and will receive a week of training in June at Clearwater Christian College. The teens are from different Christian backgrounds but all share a deep love of Jesus.
There will be high-energy games with balls, parachutes, jump ropes and hula-hoops as well as a clear gospel presentation, prayer, song, Bible stories, a memory verse and a missionary story.
"Everyone is so excited this year. We can't wait to share the love of Jesus with the children. We have thirteen youth this year and they are bursting with excitement and can't wait to get going, " said Tanya Castro, CEF field missionary.