NEGAUNEE - A record number of children participated in the ecumenical vacation Bible school last week at St. Paul Catholic Church in Negaunee.
More than 130 kids took part in the weeklong Bible school, which is supported by Immanuel Lutheran and Bethany Lutheran Church, St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Paul Catholic Church and Mitchell United Methodist Church, all of Negaunee
Stacey McEachern, one of the organizers of the event, attributed the record numbers to word-of-mouth and Facebook.
Kids participate in arts and crafts time during the ecumenical vacation Bible school last week at St. Paul Catholic Church in Negaunee. A record number of children were registered this year. (Journal photo by Christopher Diem)
"Our normal is number is 100. Last year was our low at 87 and that was because we were competing with another Bible school," she said. "I have a Facebook page and we had online registrations this year. We had 125 pre-registrations and pre-registrations have never gone over 80."
St. Paul donated the use of its old school building to conduct many of the activities, such as arts and crafts, gym time, Bible stories and movie time. The theme of this year's school was Pandamania - where God is wild about you. McEachern said the kids are taught different Bible verses and stories each day with the help of different panda characters.
"The characters are a way to incorporate some fun into it," she said. "Each day there's a special Bible point we go over, it goes with a story from the Bible. When they go to Bible story time they learn that story and collect a critter, one of the characters helping them learn the story."
On Tuesday a large group of kids crab-walked across the gym floor of the old St. Paul school as part of the game Simon Says while another group of kids decorated bandanas in an adjacent room. Across the hall, yet another group of kids sat quietly in a darkened room surrounding a television while taking part in movie time.
As the kids took part in the various activities a group of volunteer adults were putting together snack plates with graham crackers.
The Bible school is free, but McEachern said they do accept donations. The estimated cost per child for the school this year was $15.
"There's a lot of generosity. Families are bringing in so much of the snacks we requested. I printed out a sheet the first day that lists our needs and they come in as we need them," McEachern said.
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.