Stillwaters July Bible school taking children on ‘Incredible Race’
● By Richard Gaw
For one week this July, the children who will be attending the Vacation Bible School at Stillwaters Presbyterian Church in West Grove from July 8-12 – this year entitled “The Incredible Race” – will not be required to sprint, run or jog to any finish line.
Rather, over the course of five days, they will gain an appreciation and knowledge the most incredible race of all – the Human Race.
Under the direction of the church’s pastor Tony Stephens, children at the school will truly 'Go Global,' and be introduced to the cultures of five continents – South America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America – in an effort to understand that despite different ways of life, the roots of the descendants of each region are tethered to Adam and Eve, as told in the Bible.
“We’re dealing with a very interesting issue with these children, and the issue is race,” Stephens said. “It’s called ‘The Incredible Race,’ and while it’s a Biblical metaphor, it is simply to get them to understand that we are all one family, one people and from our perspective, one God for all.
“What we’re teaching is ‘Let’s celebrate who we all are, not only the differences of what we look like on the outside, but that inside, we’re all the same.'”
Each day will focus on a different theme surrounding The Tower of Babel, the scene of a post-flood rebellion against God by Noah’s descendants that led God to divide the single language used at the time into multiple languages. As these groups spread out and became isolated, certain features such as skin shade and eye shape became dominant in certain groups.
As children examine the events surrounding the Tower of Babel, they will learn that God is calling people from every tribe and nation through Christ. It's a positive message that embraces diversity, Stephens said, one that counters the stereotypes and belief systems that young people are assaulted with.
“The principles of social behavior are not always being followed,” he said. “Our children are being inundated every day of their lives with false message. Look at what they're watching and the video games they're playing that tell them that 'War is good.' We have young girls watching all sorts of programs that tell them that if they're going to be successful then your body has to be shaped a certain way, and that is so destructive. We're teaching 'Let's celebrate who we all are.'”
Stillwaters holds a similar program targeted to children from 4 years through high school on Wednesday evenings, divided age appropriately. Both the evening program and the Bible school have their roots in providing perspective, decision-making and mentorship – all of which are passed won to younger generations, Stephens said.
“In ministry, you can't change anybody, but you can show what it looks like to live like a Christian,” he said. “ Our principle is 'Watch me. Join me. I’ll watch you. Now you do it.'”
The Incredible Race Vacation Bible School will run July 8-12, and is open to children ages 4 through the 5th Grade. The cost of the school is $25. (Please note: Four year-old group is capped at $15.)
To learn more about The Incredible Race Vacation Bible School and to register your child, call 610-869-2009 or visit www.stillwatersfamily.com. Stillwaters Presbyterian Church is located at 643 Coatesville Road, West Grove, Pa, 19390.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.