The excitement of the Fourth is fading, and that of the fair stirring. But there’s still something good going on.

VBS – Vacation Bible School. It’s a great cure for the kids’ complaints of “I’m bored!” shortly after school is out for the summer. And, unfortunately, it can be the only time some of them hear the name of Jesus as anything other than an epithet, or that we have a God who cares what happens to them.

VBS has been around for a long time. I remember helping, even teaching a class when I was in high school in the ‘50’s. I got to wondering ... when did these programs start? It had to be a long time ago since I helped as a teen.

So I picked up my phone, something I do that at times causes chuckles among friends—and sometimes is a welcome thing at Bible study when we remember a specific verse but not it’s location in the Bible. And it tells us.

So I picked it up, tapped the spot for Google, said “OK, Google” which is the clue for it to listen to me, and asked, “When was the first VBS?”

And did I get a surprise!

Would you believe 1894? In Hopedale, Illinois, a teacher started the summer program because she wanted more time to teach the Bible to the kids than she got during the school year. Of course, teaching the Bible was not only allowed but part of the plan back then, unlike today. When we aren’t supposed to mention his name..

In past years, we’ve had more churches doing them, but populations change and while we have lots of churches, not all do VBS. Some are too small, but some small ones in the past have joined together to make it possible.

Some of our programs are already finished, but others are still to come. Currently, Grace Lutheran’s program is ongoing ( will end on July12) and two more are yet to come.

The Church of the Nazarene will present “ROAR” July 15-18 for k-teens. For info, go to Facebook, or call Lynn at 925-285-8128.

Pacific Light Church in Klamath will have their program July 25-27.

AGLOW will meet Tuesday in the recreation room at Summer Park apartments from noon to 2 pm. Men and women are welcome. This month, there will be a mystery speaker, as well as music, prayer and snacks (bring some, if you like).

Soon, it will be time for the fair, and that will keep a lot of folks busy. I keep watching the two African violets on my windowsill and wondering if they will be ready. I love seeing the gorgeous plants others bring – and have to remember that although we care for them, God created them. And what gifts he has given us with them.

(To contact Martha Williams, call or text 707-460-3000, or email


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