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Vacation Bible School


2015 Vacation Bible School Blog

Day 1

June 22, 2015


VBS began this morning as we have begun for years: “Good Morning, Lord.” For a short time we actually had more adults than children! The pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and Bible, the songs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and “The B-I-B-L-E”—all brought back pleasant memories. Seeing the returning children sing the songs and quote the pledges without reading the sheets in front of them inspired the director. The theme is “Jesus, The True Superhero,” based on Ephesians 6:11. Lesson 1 is entitled “Everyone Needs Help Sometimes,” Genesis 39:1 – 6, 16 -23. Recess is always fun. We dined on We have several volunteers from other churches.




Twenty children showed up for SEEP, some of whom are also in VBS. Having SEEP in the afternoon provides a place for students who gives students who want to come to VBS the opportunity Following devotion and introductions, we spent longer than expected recounting last year’s adventurers for the new SEEPers. We laughed much of the time: picking strawberries and raspberries, making jam, swimming, the bus trouble en route to Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Falls, making ice cream, visiting Experience Music Project (EMP), Bellevue Arts and Craft Fair and Mall, Northwest Trek, Bellevue College and Bennett Enterprises radio stations, Pike Place Market and several libraries. Included were a number of incidents of which the adults were unaware.  Considering we never left the church grounds on this first day, we had great fun. Fun is a big part of SEEP.

Students suggested activities for this summer. Dr. McDade revealed plans connected to the Storm and Seahawks. The group was quite pleased. We almost forgot recess! Ice cream sandwiches were a good end for the first day out of school and the beginning of a marvelous summer.

Day 2
“Choosing to Be Bold,” 2 Corinthians 3:12, was the emphasis for today’s lesson. More students arrived today. We practiced our theme song again. Teachers are Debra Garrison, Linda Westbrook, Deborah Hilsman, Ckathy Marshall, and Elma Horton. Assistants are Gracie Williams, Jeremiah Hobbes, and a teen-ager. We are happy to have helping us For All Community Events and Services (FACES). These young persons serve meals for us and plan to entertain with games.
Sean and Danielle were on hand today.

Mr. Joe, the Boy Scout Leader arrived at 1:00 p. m. for his first two-hour stint. Boy Scouts will join us twice a week two hours Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is the first time in several years we have had two afternoons rather than one. The supervised games emphasizing unity, teamwork, and sportsmanship are very helpful for the children. Children introduced themselves and told us their favorite ice cream. Watching them exclaim when they learned others had the same “favorite flavor” brought smiles to the adults’ faces. He has one expectation: no talking when he’s talking, the Boy Scouts’ first rule. It did not take long for some people to break the rule. Everyone had to return. How much could we accomplish if we did not spend so much time asking the participants to listen?
After a more detailed talk, we got exercise by walking to Miller Park. There the children played on their own for a while. Then Mr. Joe called all of them together to play lava monster. He was the first monster. He soon tagged a number of persons to be monsters. Eventually we returned to the church where we had watermelon for refreshment.
One student had a minor accident, but nurse assistant Tirhas, the mother of two SEEP children, came to the rescue of the hurt foot.

Day 3


“Help, Lord” is the title of the Primary lesson today.  The scripture comes from 2 Kings 19:14 – 21, 25 – 36.   The Juniors did the devotion.  Everyone seems to know what to do when now.


We rushed through lunch so we could get to our outing today.

Marthyann Horn, Deborah Hilsman, Akil Hilsman, Carri Ivory, Shirley Montgomery, Tirhas Haile, Gracie Williams, two persons from FACES, Catherine Acox, and Georgia McDade played a big role in a first experience for SEEP:  Twenty-four of us took swimming lessons in Lake Washington at Mt. Baker Park.  (We can no longer afford to swim at Medgar Evers or Rainier Beach Pool.)  The new experience was enjoyed by all of the children as well as the two adults who got in the lake with them.  Under the eyes of a lifeguard and three lifeguard teachers in the water, we floated—“navels toward the sky and chins up.”  The children practiced using the kickboards, and some got on the large blue surfboard.  Ms Deborah and Dr. McDade were a bit envious. One little person said, “Swimming was awesome.”  Another said This is my first day ever taking swimming lessons, and it is good!”  Perhaps by the end of the summer all of them can swim to and dive from the diving dock, but for now, Dr. McDade is happy so many of them had so much fun.  Despite the fear of one church member, we were safe in Lake Washington.  FIVE lifeguards rather than one were on duty, and one was in a boat!

After our short ride back to church, we ate watermelon and grapes.

Then we wrote about Vacation Bible School and Mt. Baker.  One

student wrote, “I learned in Bible School that you always have to pray.  Also, I learned that when you are talking to people you need to look at everybody so they know you are talking to them.   Also, I learned to earn something you need to work for it. “

The smaller children enjoyed recess; the older children worked on  a praise dance for the closing.

Ms Deborah spent much of the afternoon separating the recyclable items from the compost.  Soon we will share this information with the children.  We will have persons informing us on reducing our footprints.

Day 4                                                                                                 June 25, 2015

The Teen lesson title is “Choose Justice,” based on Exodus 3:1 – 10.  In the absence of the Primary students, other students, primarily Juniors were drafted to do the devotion.  There was a stampede to hold the flags—which we had for the first time this year.  A primary student held the Bible.  (We are accustomed to pledging to both flags and the Bible as we look at them. Tuesday we used copies of both flags, thanks to Dea. Deborah.)  We listened to and practiced our theme song “Superhero” plus the song “War.”  The war is the battle between good and evil, the realization that we are besieged by forces working to make us not treat the persons with whom we come in contact as we want to be treated.

We went to our various classes.  Ms Carrie Ivory taught Ms Linda Westbrook’s class today.  Mrs. Rose Pinkney taught Mrs. Elma Horton’s class. Dea. Darlene Hobbs continued to assist Ms Hilsman with the Juniors; she also helped with playground duty.

A big change today was a presentation by teacher Ms Deborah Hilsman.  She demonstrated recycling—what goes in the recycling bin, the garbage bin, and the compost bin.  Then she helped the children as they discarded their leftovers and milk cartons.  We will continue learning about the recycling and practice what we learn wherever we go.  She reminded us that Seattle residents will be fined if they fail to divide their discarded items correctly.

Thanks to the F. A. C. E. S. volunteers for serving the food.  Thanks to Mrs. Charles for arriving to get the food from the Sack Lunch truck.  She and Mrs. Jewell Shelby store and prepare the food to be served; they serve the food for the adults and then clean the tables and floor.  We’re working on keeping our surroundings cleaner.



We convened at 12:30 p. m.  After devotion we briefly discussed our swimming adventure yesterday.  We are all excited about swimming in the lake:  using a life jacket, kickboard, and surfboard, and floating.  Ms Catherine commended the girls on working together.  No one is afraid to get in the Lake.  Talking about what happened outside revealed a number of infractions but nothing out of the ordinary.  We looked at how we get on the playground equipment and how we get along on the playground.

Accompanying Mr. Joe Gooden today from the Boy Scouts were Mr. Sam Landesbuerg and Ms Sydney Duran.  The twenty-one SEEPers were divided into two groups: generally, the older and the younger.  The younger went to Miller Park; the older stayed in the Fellowship Hall where they wrote what they learned today.

At Miller they played games and splashed in the water park; they “had a lot of fun” said one, “an opportunity to go outside.”  The walk to Miller is good exercise too.  In the Fellowship Hall they worked on essays, and a few worked on spelling.

At 3:00 p. m. we had sandwiches and strawberries compliments of Ms Hilsman and cookies compliments of Mrs. Cotton.

The waste management authorities would love what we did today! Ms Hilsman stood guard as we selected the paper/plastic bin, compost bin, or trash bin.  Most of us got the right bin the first time.

After recess Dr. McDade introduced the word “theme.”  We defined theme:  moral message, main idea, statement about life.  We came up with several themes for Wizard of Oz: to get to our destination we often have to overcome obstacles; very often we already have what we ask for; there’s no place like home.  Then we discussed another definition of theme—a major idea or subject.  For 2015 SEEP the theme is “Outside the Cave.”  SEEPers explained what they think “outside the cave” means—out of our comfort zone.  Then we cited examples of not being in our particular comfort zone.  A surprising number of us reluctantly, hesitantly have  gotten on a rollercoaster.  Someone was afraid of spiders.  Dr. McDade explained that getting in Lake Washington Wednesday is an example of going outside the cave for most of the twenty-seven of us—a few had swum in the Lake before—swimming in the pool is the norm. The assignment is to keep track of the times outside the cave—a list at SEEP and a list outside of SEEP.  A prize awaits the winner at the end of the session.

Day 5

The Teen lesson is “The Ride Home”; the Primary lesson is “A Change in Tyreke.”  All of the classes have different titles, but the scripture is the same:  Luke 10:25 – 37. “Superheroes seek salvation through Jesus Christ,” says the Urban Ministries, Inc. literature we have used for years.

We want to thank Mr. John Kelsie, Mrs. Emma Cotton, Mrs. Jewell Shelby, and Mrs. Lou Annie Charles.  We also want to thank the people who assist the persons who assist us:  Mr. Kelsie’s daughter-in-law Mrs. Gail Kelsie, Mrs. Cotton’s son Ricky and grandson LeJohn, and Mr. John Hardiman, Mrs. Shelby’s daughter Ms Regina Shelby , and Mrs. Charles’ husband Dexter.   We thank Mrs. Theresa Crawford and Rev. Julie Vaughn for clerical assistance and the many times they have arrived early or stayed late to help us.  A number of persons make VBS go, and we are grateful to each of them.


We have the circle idea.  Students often place the chairs in the circle without being asked to do so.  We cleaned up, thankful for a wonderful week, grateful for students and staff.

Day 6                                                                                                   June 29, 2015

Based on John 4:7 – 24, “Superheroes worship God in spirit and in truth,” say all of the pamphlets.  “True Worship” and  “Worship First” are subjects for two classes.  Our theme song is sounding better.  More children were on time.  Today Ms Christine Kearney joined us.  Ms Danielle helped us with the meal service.


After devotion, we talked about issues students had last week.  We had a fun time.  Mrs. Catherine and Dr. McDade listened attentively as students pointed out problems with VBS.  Initially complaints came about the writing assignments—writing a full page is too much; they do not always have a full page to say about VBS.  Another pointed out that some make larger letters than others so actually write less than a page! Dr. McDade suggested writing be done on the computer—all of the pages would be the same length.  Some do not want to write about what they learned in VBS because they do not always learn as much one day as they learn another day.  Dr. McDade assured them that there are only four more days of VBS.  One did say VBS is getting better as they prepare for the closing program.  They like the activity pages.  Several had their say about snacks—not enough.  Dr. McDade assured them that a variety of snacks had been purchased over the weekend.

Lunch is ok, but they need more food; they are growing; they are hungry.  We agreed to serve more substantial snacks.  Because of our limited budget, we are asking each parent to donate snacks.

They need more water.  It’s too bad you, dear reader, could not see some of them collapsed in their chairs because of lack of water.

The conversation moved to hygiene.

Ms Hilsman continued her crusade to recycle.   More and more students have joined her.

A dress code was the next discussion.  One student read us an instagram about the falsity of distractions of girls’ arms, legs, and shoulders.  They were very serious.  Overall, we had a fun discussion.

We gladly went to the vans so we could go to Lowe’s for more vegetable plants, McDonald’s for ice cream cones, and Burnett Park to cool off.  One van would not start although a service man charged the battery.  The children cheered when the motor turned only to get really sad when the motor died again.  Eventually we decided to take the one van to Lowe’s and McDonald’s.  Tomorrow we plant three kinds of pepper plants and radish, beans, beets, and carrot seeds.  We purchased ice cream for everyone and skipped the park.

We cleaned up a bit.

Day 7                                                                                                        6/30/15



                  Preschoolers are told “Get the Message Out.”  Imagine learning at such an early age that we should “get the message out,” the message being the gospel.  And then imagine how the world would be if we got the message out.  All classes made plain that “Superheroes share the good news.”  The scripture comes from Mark 5:1-19.


For the third year, Ms Kimberly Kanouse is the Boy Scout outreach representative.   She introduced herself and then had the students introduce themselves.  The older students accompanied her and Dr. McDade to Miller Community Center where they played a soccer- type game.  The hot weather kept us drinking water.

The game was great fun.

The younger students had circle time and an excellent recess.

All of us got a healthy portion of fruit thanks to Rev. Ed Jackson:  green and red grapes and strawberries, all of this after delicious watermelon provided by Mrs. Acox.

Mrs. Deborah was on hand to direct the recycling.

Mrs. Lillian Jackson, a former volunteer, conducted our first craft class.  She is teaching students how to make beads out of paper!  One young man was so entranced that he asked to make beads.  This was the quietest part of the day!  Pastor Aaron Williams paid us a surprise visit when he returned the certificates to be awarded VBS attendees and the staff.


Laughs for the Day:  Thinking she could encourage better behavior, Dr. McDade asked a three-year-old not acting his best if he wanted to come tomorrow.  “No,” he said, “ I want to stay here!”

Another child asked her mom at 4:55 p. m., “Do we have to go home?”

Day 8

Preschool students are “Praising God.”   The Primary class subject is  “Praise God for Me.”  Teens are concentrating on the “Power of Praise.”  Acts 3:1 – 10  is the scripture for all of the lessons.  Our singing has steadily improved.  We are putting the finishing touches on our closing program Friday at 10:30 a. m.  Everyone is invited.  Adults continue to study ________________________ and use the accompanying workbook.

Kudos for Christina Kearney for taking care of the certificates.


Wednesday was an outstanding day for anyone who attended SEEP.  Because of the lunch schedule that the Sack Lunch program says  cannot be altered, we have to eat and rush to Mt. Baker for the thirty-minute swimming lesson and recreational swimming afterwards.   Only with the help of a number of persons—teachers and Clara Williams—

can we get to the park on time.  Today we broke the record for adults helping with the swimming!  There were thirteen of us at the park:

Shirley Montgomery, Marthyann Horn, Danielle, Trang, Ida Huey, Fleeks’ dad, Tiffany Harvey, Akil Hilsman, Deborah Hilsman, Flo and Johnny King (grandparents), Catherine Acox, and Georgia S. McDade.  Eight of us were in the lake with the children and the kickboards and floaties.  A couple of children complained about the cold water; most were not the least bit concerned about the temperature of the water.  The bright sunshine made the day perfect for splashing, swimming, or lying on the beach.  A big ripple was the swim test.  The swim test was not something the coordinator was aware of.  Of course, some of the children can swim; they learned during previous Bible School and SEEP sessions.  The coordinator—aware of criticism for going to the lake rather than the pool—said swimming was confined to the section marked for the lessons.  “Stay inside the rope!”  Without the coordinator’s knowledge, several students took and passed the swim test.  The coordinator suggested they bring their parents/guardians to the lake when they swim outside the ropes and dive off the dock.  Once again, the coordinator suffered the wrath of the students.  One or two approached; the coordinator said no; another one or two approached; the coordinator said no.  Then they went to Mrs. Acox who did not know the coordinator had said no; she said yes, they could go.  Only after seeing some of the students outside the ropes did the coordinator beckon the students to return.  Of course, there was a discussion.  Next week, I guess some students will be allowed to go outside the ropes, probably with the coordinator.  The coordinator is always on high alert, especially with the SEEPERS; swimming with the SEEPERS calls for a higher alert.  Though the coordinator says “swimming with,” the truth is that the coordinator seldom swims with the SEEPERS because the coordinator is walking around the pool/lake watching, helping, asking/pleading with someone to do or not do something. The coordinator is at her happiest when another child learns to swim as a child rather than a mature adult as she did.  As we continue exploring the coordinator’s Outside the Cave theme, the coordinator accepts allowing swimmers to swim outside the ropes.

Back at Mount Zion we made ice cream in a bag—our science lesson.  Anyone looking in on us would have seen mass chaos.  But this was not the case.  Each of thirty children was to follow directions:  stand in front of two Ziploc bags on the table; take the smaller bag and let an adult put in ½ cup of milk, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, and 1 tablespoon of sugar; close the bag; take the larger bag and let an adult add three cups of ice and 1/3 cup of rock salt; close the bag; shake, shake, shake.  While most of the participants followed as directed, several persons were in the wrong place at the wrong time; so someone had to put an ingredient or two or three in yet another bag.  In five to ten minutes most of the students had ice cream.  Seeing the faces of those who had not done this previously was worth all the water on the table and floor!  Some made two servings, one with vanilla and one with almond.