Vacation Bible school is more than a summer activity at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church.
The program was offered to youth last fall, and returns this year for the Thanksgiving break, said Monica McDaniels, church school superintendent.
“We had a pretty good group of children to come (last year) and participate so we decided to try it to do it again,” McDaniels said.
This year’s vacation Bible school will held 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Wednesday at the church, 8742 Scenic Highway in Scotlandville. The program is for ages 5-14 with adult classes added this year.
The church sees the program as an opportunity to assist children and their parents during the school break.
“We’re trying to help parents provide something constructive and free for the children to do during those days that they’re out of school,” McDaniels said. “It’s another avenue for Christian education outside the traditional summer vacation Bible school or outside of Sunday school or church school on Sunday morning.”
The program is an arduous undertaking during the fall because many of the parents and other likely volunteers are working. McDaniels said the program relies on its retirees.
“It requires some attention and manpower because of the times,” said McDaniels, who has been a member of Camphor for 11 years.
Fall vacation Bible school wasn’t always part of the church’s plans. A fire in November 2009 caused the church to postpone that summer’s vacation Bible school to the following fall. Now, the church does it twice a year.
Camphor has offered its vacation Bible school ideas and materials to other area Methodist churches. Although churches have been intrigued, McDaniels said, she hasn’t seen a rush of churches following suit with fall programs.
“I don’t think anyone else has taken the plunge,” she said.
Call the church at (225) 775-4106.
A bad toe helped change Raymond Thomas’ heart and his life.
Thomas, of Plattenville, had worked nearly 20 years as a high school basketball official. But about three months ago, Thomas contracted a toe fungus, jeopardizing not only his ability to do this work but also his life.
“I went to a specialist and he saw right away that the toe had to come off,” said Thomas, a former Nicholls State University football player.
The threat of the infection spreading to the rest of his body and subsequent amputation caused Thomas to reassess his life.
“It made me realize that we’re only here on borrowed time,” he said. “I realized that the toe was going to change my way of thinking.”
Thomas, 50, said it also changed his heart, particularly regarding his church, which he had left six months prior to his health problems over a disagreement with the new pastor.
“I was wrong,” Thomas said. “I had to go to him and ask him for forgiveness, because it made me feel like I had betrayed a friend, and that went deep, deep down in my heart. At first, it didn’t bother me because I wanted what I wanted.”
Thomas had been lifetime member of St. Mark Baptist Church, a deacon for 25 years and had professed his call to the ministry and preached his first sermon just prior to leaving.
He had been attending another church but didn’t change his membership.
“That was the reason I wanted to go back to my pastor and let him know that I needed a church home,” he said.
Thomas, who plans to give up basketball officiating and give more time to ministry, will return to his church home on Sunday for the first time in eight months.
“It’s going to be emotional for me to come back home,” he said.
Brian Jones didn’t always believe in hell.
For the first four years of his ministry, the Pennsylvania minister doubted that a loving God could send anyone to an eternal place of damnation.
But Jones said he came to a true revelation about the existence of hell and has dedicated to his life to helping others avoid it.
Jones shares his testimony in his book “Hell is Real (But I Hate to Admit It)” from David C. Cook Publishing.
“The fact of the matter is: Hell is real. Deciding whether or not hell exists isn’t an intellectual exercise, it’s a matter of eternal life or death. Of course, I still have doubts about hell from time to time, but the point is my relationship with the risen Jesus supersedes my doubts,” Jones writes.
After sharing his story of discovering the realness of hell, Jones spends the rest of the 268-page book on evangelism: sharing Christ through relationships with others.
In fact, Jones introduces readers to a term called “apocalyptic urgency.”
“Apocalyptic urgency is the all-consuming conviction that overtakes you when you realize hell is real, and that it is within your power to help people avoid going there. Apocalyptic is the world usually reserved to describe the cataclysmic events associated with the end of the world. In my mind, Christians focus on the wrong apocalypse. The only “apocalypse” that we can really understand and change in any way is the apocalypse awaiting every unsaved individual when he or she dies.”
The book is divided into four sections:
Chapters include “Ashamed,” “Deceived,” “Wrath,” “Chill” and “Relationships.”
Some readers may find Jones to be a bit radical and overbearing in some of his approaches to evangelism.
Jones, who has master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, is the senior pastor at Christ Church of the Valley in suburban Philadelphia. His other books are “Second Guessing God” and “Getting Rid of the Gorilla.”
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday. Contact Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email email@example.com.
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