Vacation Bible Adventure Response

Across social media, there have been concerns voiced about the original content of the Vacation Bible Adventure (VBA) curriculum we have selected for this year (that have been directed towards the publisher content, not our church specifically). This was concerning to us as well and we have addressed this and we wanted to communicate with you what steps we have taken.

 

We were aware of concerns prior to the current controversy and have been addressing the issues throughout our preparation. Every year (this is year 21 for Laura), we carefully choose and re-write curriculum, change activities to make them align with the values of BelPres, as well as keep them age appropriate. 

 

We have found that curriculums are best used for bones of programs, primarily for music and graphic packages. We stick to the Bible stories as the basis for lessons, picking and choosing the activities that best share the Gospel and are inclusive to ALL children. For example, last year the curriculum we selected was a sports theme but we had concerns that it was only focused on children with full physical abilities. Realizing this wasn’t honoring to all children we expanded the content to include other activities so that it was inclusive of all children. We also adjusted our language and coaching to volunteers so that children of all kinds of abilities were welcomed and included in our program.

 

This year from our first meeting we chose to go with an animals and ecosystem focus and not push into one country, continent, or culture (Theme: Life is wild – God is good). We will always strive to portray others in an honoring light, both as individuals and as cultures, and have omitted aspects of the curriculum that do not represent our values at BelPres. The VBA leadership team is actively guiding our volunteers and coaching them to use language that does not lead to cultural appropriation or stereotypes.

 

We are happy to talk with anyone who may have concerns or questions regarding this. We are putting the utmost care into VBA to make it an enriching experience for all the children who attend, and we cannot wait to experience the lives that will be changed as a result. Life is wild, God is good!

 

Laura Quaratiello

Elementary Ministries Director

 

Colin Robeson

Family Life Ministries Pastor

Why VBA?

Vacation Bible Adventure (VBA) preparation is in full gear now, and amidst all the details I keep having flashbacks of my own experiences here at BelPres. (Yes, I am a life long member.)

I remember eagerly listening as Mrs. Clark read The Giving Tree and being in awe of God’s love. I remember carefully threading beads on a leather cord, one for each memory verse and feeling fulfilled earning the last extra-large bead with John 3:16 printed on it. I remember eating lunch with Mrs. Dilworth and thinking wow, the senior pastor’s wife is cool. I remember Mrs. Gallotte beaming with joy as she led us in song, “If the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack, sit on a tack…” I remember Jane Taylor and Susie Hendrickson laughing and laughing, having fun playing games and making crafts. (more…)

Reflecting on VBA

It was a typical Friday afternoon drive down I-405. We had just left the final day of Vacation Bible Adventure (VBA) and were slogging our way down the freeway, trying to get my 13-year-old son, Oliver, to his soccer tournament in Renton. Enya was blasting on the CD player to soothe three-month old Seth, screaming in his car seat. In the very back were nine-year-old Rosalind and seven-year-old Rhett. I was thinking about a million different things: wondering how I was going to get kids to a swim meet and soccer game the next day with my husband out of town, whether there was a Dairy Queen close to the soccer field for pre-game treats, if I had time to stop at Starbucks to get me through the next 3 hours, when out of the blue a voice spoke up from the back seat, “I think I’ve changed.”  I turned down the stereo, irritated that our Enya-Zen was being interrupted. “What did you say?” I yelled to the back.  Rhett looked up and met my eyes in the rearview mirror. “I think I’ve changed, Mom,” he said again.  “I love Jesus more than I used to.” (more…)