Double Oak Community Church VBS returns in person

By WILLIAM MARLOW / Special to the Reporter

MT LAUREL—Double Oak Community Church held its first in-person Vacation Bible School last week for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The event spanned June 14-18, and was greeted with much anticipation by the community according to Sandy Stephenson, the children’s minister for the church, who said people were excited to return to in-person activities after a year of virtual events.

“The church was thrilled about having this event again. It was very highly anticipated. People were excited that we are back together,” Stephenson said.

Launched in 2005, last week marked the church’s 16th annual year of the event. Members of both the church’s Mt. Laurel and Chelsea congregations attended as well as people from across Shelby County. In total, over 650 people were present, according to Stephenson.

Over the course of five days, the camp’s children rotated between four various activities, which ranged from outdoor games to theater productions of Bible stories.

The first activity, dubbed “Imagination Station,” provided the attendees with an opportunity to explore various science topics and physical objects. This was followed by “Bible Adventures,” which reimagined Bible stories in the form of theater and live-action.

In one of these events, the church produced a retelling of Paul’s shipwreck from Acts 27 of the Bible, with volunteers dressing in costume and creating sets. In another activity, the children moved to the present day and examined Biblical themes from the context of everyday experiences.

Throughout the week, the children were split into groups, which Stephenson said provided a chance for them to interact on a personal level as well as connect and bond.

“The kids really love the personal attention of their group leaders, and they love the camaraderie of being together as a team,” she said.

Each day concluded with remarks from special guest James Spann, chief meteorologist at ABC 33/40, who led several of the day’s worship sessions.

Spann, a member of the Double Oak congregation, participates in the church’s annual Vacation Bible School and most enjoys preaching and the interactions with the children, according to Stephenson.

“He led during the times when we were all together, and he gets really involved and goes around and talks with the kids,” she said.