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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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THANKS ROBERT RAIKES FOR A GREAT VBS

Robert Raikes (1736-1811) was an English Philanthropist who pioneered what we now know as the Sunday School movement. Raikes organized and personally funded the first of the modern Sunday School classes in Gloucester, England around 1783. The success of his experiment soon spread not only throughout England, but the entire English-speaking world as well. While there have been many variations on Raikes' organization, the basic intent and format have remained surprisingly the same over the past two centuries.

The Vacation Bible School movement, which is really a mere adaptation of the Sunday School format, began in America during the 1920's as our country began its transition from an agricultural society to an industrial and service industry lifestyle. Millions of American children now had free time during the summers as they no longer had to work on the farm and child labor laws prohibited their exploitation in industry. VBS was seen as the right method at the right time and every church from A to Z has taken advantage of it.

America of the 2000's has now moved into the post industrial age and our society is now service oriented and leisure based. Children now have so much "free" time during the summers that leisure-based activities have all but crowded out everything else. As a result, many congregations have suffered in their VBS's and opted for a night Bible School in hopes that more children will have time to attend. They have also had real difficulties in getting enough people to help with VBS.

With family vacations, tennis camps, basketball camps, cheerleading camps, golf camps, karate lessons, riding lessons, swimming lessons, dance lessons, gymnastic lessons, trips to Disney World, Dollywood, Six Flags, Little League, Pony League, softball, (and the list goes on and on) America's children don't seem to have time to attend VBS.

Not so at the Smithville Church of Christ! We continue to have the largest VBS crowds of any congregation I know of in DeKalb County (I know because I've been asking). We averaged 185 for the 4 days! One boy told me, "Vacation Bible School at my church is boring. I don't even remember them talking about God at my church."

Thanks to all the workers who helped make VBS 2005 a huge SUCCESS. We could not have done it without you!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward