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VBS leaders speak out about the value of the traditional summer program, that has been a part of Missionary Baptist Church for more than 90 years

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Patty Roberts, left, and Jenny Barker, pictured right, stand in front of their art work for the set of their VBS theme, which is Big Fish Bay. Roberts is the VBS leader for this summer, and Barker leads music for the week program. She is also wife of Pastor Daniel Barker.

A valuable and age-old tradition is about to welcome youth of all ages to Vacation Bible School in various venues throughout Prineville.

The tradition goes back as far as 1894, in Illinois, when a Sunday school teacher, also a public school teacher, started a daily Bible school to teach children the Bible in the summer. The tradition has remained in many churches up to present day, and many churches use themed curriculum programs, along with various fun activities for the youth.

Prineville Missionary Baptist Church has been in Prineville in some form for more than 90 years. They believe in the infallible and inerrant word of God, and that it was written by Holy men of God under the immediate and direct dictation of the Holy Spirit. They hold the King James Bible as the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice. The tradition of Vacation Bible School (VBS) has been in existence from the beginning of the church.

"Our church's point of view is obviously – number one – it is an outreach to the community that we can teach others about Jesus and the Bible, and hopefully see some souls saved. That is always our prayer and number one objective," commented Patty Roberts, leader for this year's VBS.

Roberts has led the program for the past three years. She indicated that last year, COVID-19 required them to not hold their summer program, and they were thrilled to have the VBS program again this year.

The VBS celebration will begin Aug. 8 and go through Aug. 12. Each evening will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The theme for this Summer's VBS is Big Fish Bay, the story of Jonah, found in the Book of Jonah in the Bible. In the story, Jonah was saved from drowning by a great fish, living for three days inside the creature until the fish "vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." Jonah, thankful for God's mercy that his life was spared, took up his prophetic mission.

"The main theme is God's mercy and grace," added Roberts. "We have games, crafts, and music all wrapped around that theme."

They also have Bible story time, a puppet ministry, and a bouncy house. Roberts and Jenny Barker have spent many hours toiling to get the decorations and theme ready, complete with some of their own artwork.

Barker, wife of Pastor Daniel Barker, is in charge of music. The family came to Prineville to pastor the Prineville Missionary Baptist Church in 2008. They have three children, and the oldest will be helping this year with VBS classes.

There are several caring adults who help with games outside and supervise with the crafts, in addition to dedicated teachers for music, crafts and outside games. They have snacks, since the students begin at 5:30, so they are given a light meal. On the final evening of the week, parents, grandparents, siblings, or any family members come and listen to the youth sing and recite Bible verses. They also have refreshments for the families.

"On Friday night, the kids get awards for learning their memory verse, for being there all five nights, bringing friends, or bringing their Bible," added Barker.

Roberts said that they have a store for this summer's VBS where the youth can earn "bucks" to buy candy, snacks and toys.

"They love that. We also have perfect attendance awards this year. Everybody that is here all five nights will get a prize. There are five classes, with ages 4 through kindergarten; grades 1-2; grades 3-4; grades 5-6; and juniors and high school," said Roberts.

The Prineville Missionary Baptist Church is located on 1870 NW Riverland Loop, off of Madras Highway.


Prineville Missionary Baptist Church

Vacation Bible School

Theme: Big Fish Bay

Aug 8-12

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

1870 NW Riverland Loop

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