Vacation Bible Schools For Children


News 25’s Katarina Luketich interviews Jenn Simmons and Anna Kate Shurley about Vacation Bible Schools for children, free summer programs.


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Gulfport-area churches begin scheduling summer
Vacation Bible Schools
–Churches across city sponsor traditional summer camps for children, free of charge–

Churches across Gulfport have begun scheduling their annual summer Vacation Bible Schools for children. According to a June 2003 article in “Christianity Today,” Vacation Bible Schools, or VBSes, began in the late 19th century as a way for churches to provide educational opportunities to their home communities during the summer. These programs soon spread across the nation, and by 1923, Standard Publishing of Cincinnati began offering a full curriculum for churches to use for their own VBSes.

Today, this tradition of providing Christian education and character building activities to school-age children during the summer continues in Gulfport. Church partners within the Gulfport Ecumenical Fellowship, a new coast-wide gathering of church leaders from across geographic, racial and denominational lines, are pleased to announce the following schedule of VBSes, all of which are operated independently by their host churches, free and open to the public:

First Baptist Church of Gulfport. June 5-9, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Curriculum: Lifeway’s “Submerged,” based on Psalm 139:23-24. 12190 Highway 605 in Gulfport. Registration: Jenn Simmons at (228) 831-3400.

St. Peter’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church. June 6-9, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Curriculum: “Cave Quest: Following Jesus, the Light of the World.” 1909 15th Street in Gulfport. Registration: (228) 863-2611.

Trinity United Methodist Church. June 13-17, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Curriculum: “Aloha! Say Hello to God’s Grace and Love.” 5007 Lawson Avenue in Gulfport. Registration: Maria Turnage at (228) 863-2717, ext. 15;; or

First United Methodist Church of Gulfport. June 26-30; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Curriculum: “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.” 2301 15th Street in Gulfport. Registration: (228) 863-0047.

Westminster Presbyterian Church. June 27-July 1; 9 a.m. to noon. Curriculum: “Barnyard Roundup: Jesus Gathers Us Together,” based on Psalm 23. 5005 Lawson Avenue in Gulfport. Registration: Anna Kate Shurley at (228) 864-3143; or www.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. July 5-8: Music, art and drama camp for grades 3-6. July 18-22: Vacation Bible School for pre-K through grade 2. Curriculum: “Deep Sea Discovery.” 11322 West Taylor Road in Gulfport. Registration: (228) 896-7597.

Gateway United Methodist Church. July 18-22; 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Curriculum by Cokesbury. 16020 South Swan Road in Gulfport. Registration: Shirley Wiygul or Marie Nissen at (228) 832-0135.

Those interested in attending any of these camps are encouraged to contact the churches directly to confirm registration details and age/grade eligibility.
Founded in 2015 by three Gulfport pastors, the Gulfport Ecumenical Fellowship seeks to connect local clergy and churches through quarterly times of prayer and Bible study so that they can begin to explore creative and organic ways to partner together in Christian service to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


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