Sharon Zachery and Jackie Stamps have directed Mt. Calvary’s VBS as a team for the past five years; they rotate roles of director and co-director each year.
It’s a good system, they said. And noted that their pastor, the Rev. Quintin Woods Sr., says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The duo added that Woods refers to them as “a winning combination.”
The co-directors start planning for VBS months ahead of time. This year, they chose to use a program called “Heaven’s Kitchen: Nourishing a Healthy Soul, Body and Mind.”
The week was anchored with a theme verse, Matthew 6:11: “Give us this day our daily bread.” The program incorporated lessons on healthy living and spiritual living.
Each year, the VBS directors try to order their program from a different company. “Last year, several churches (in the area) had the same program,” Stamps said. This year, they wanted to do something different.
Stamps said that when people heard about the theme of this year’s program, they were both excited and intrigued.
The co-directors said their attendance numbers have increased each year. This year, the average attendance was 96 kids and adults per day.
“Heaven’s Kitchen” had all the elements of a traditional VBS, including Bible lessons, crafts, food and fellowship — but a few things stood out.
Unlike many VBS programs, Mt. Calvary had something for all age groups. Classes were divided into seven groups, ranging from pre-school all the way to adults.
Another thing that made the program stand out was its focus on healthy living.
On the final night of the program, each class shared what they had learned. One of the ladies from the adult class said they had learned about bread. “And it’s not just rolls and pies or soul food,” she said. “It’s our spiritual bread.”
Others said they had learned things like “the types of people we need in our life, and the types of food we need to eat to stay healthy.”
The theme of healthy living was explained in a way that was applicable and easy to understand, said one of the young adult women. She said she learned that we should “take God’s word and hide it in our heart and feast on it, so we can grow.”
All of the VBS students watched the older kids participate in a Bible Bowl, which was a Family Feud-style trivia game in which the Rev. Woods asked questions from the week’s lessons. Kids were asked to recite the week’s theme memory verse and to answer specific questions about the Bible stories that were covered, as well as to list the five food groups.
In the closing announcements, Stamps asked the audience, “How many of you are going to take it out on the streets and tell someone what you learned this week?”
The crowd responded with shouts of excitement and a sweeping applause.