Bible school shows kids different side of religion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Tall palm trees and scaled-down pyramids greet visitors as they enter Dallas Avenue Baptist Church. Costumed pharaohs weave their way around plastic camels and alligators to help serve sandwiches and ice cream to hungry children anxious for a bite to eat.

This seemingly unusual scene is not part of some outreach program for children from Egypt. The church hall was designed this way to inspire and bring some fun for the nearly 60 children attending this week’s vacation bible school.

The church is one of several across Selma to host vacation bible schools

as a way to give young Christians something entertaining to do this summer besides

watching TV or finding ways to get in trouble.

Each church runs its vacation bible school in is own way, but most usually involve plenty of singing, arts and crafts, and storytelling.

Sending children to vacation bible school is a time-honored tradition for some families, especially in the South. A few parents still have the scrawled artwork and strange figurines made of popsicle sticks and cotton saved in forgotten places.

Dallas Avenue Baptist Church has been holding its vacation bible school for nearly 10 years.

For this year’s theme, &uot;Treasures of the Nile,&uot; bible school coordinators spent two months planning and organizing every aspect.

The children who attend the afternoon of activities seem to enjoy the effort.

Boys and girls of varying ages seemed to have a good time hamming it up during their music class and eating treats to their heart’s content.

Coordinator Paula Duke said the children start each day at 9 a.m. with an open assembly before moving on to the different classes.

The Rev. Neil Caver said he has been really impressed with the response from both the children and volunteer teachers.

While Caver joked that bible school volunteers are likely to be exhausted by the end of the week, so far the volunteers seem to be all smiles and pleased with their efforts.

Unlike some vacation bible schools, the one at Dallas Avenue Church is free and open to anyone who wants to come.

The program, which ends each day at noon, will continue through Friday.