Vacation Bible School starting next week

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Thoburn United Methodist Church is kicking off Vacation Bible School (VBS) with a kiss. Pastor Dr. Bradley Call promised that if the church met the registration goal of at least 200 participants, he would kiss a pig.

That goal came to fruition, and the pig is on its way for June 2, when the church’s bible school will begin at 9 a.m.

Nora Holtsclaw, VBS Director and Head of Outreach, said that Call was initially a little dubious of the idea. But Holtsclaw also said Call has been a good sport about keeping his promise, even vowing to wear lipstick so that kids attending the Bible School will be able to verify that he really did kiss the pig, an eight-week old 4-H project named Cinderella.

It’s all part of Thoburn’s “Weird Animals” theme for VBS, which will run from June 2 through June 6, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. each day. VBS is free, and open to children ages three to sixth grade. Holtsclaw said the theme was chosen by the Christian company which performs programs for VBS across the nation and has worked with Thoburn previously.

“They just pick a theme and go with it. They come up with a fantastic program each year” she said. “Most of it falls on the theme of God’s love. Everyone is so busy these days, and sometimes children don’t feel that they are loved. We’re just trying to stress the love of Jesus.”

Thoburn’s VBS uses non-denominational material. According to Holtsclaw, the “Weird Animals” theme ties into the notion that God loves all his creations, no matter how different.

VBS will include a variety of activities every day, starting with music in the sanctuary. Children will then travel through six different stations for stories, team-building games and an imagination area which will feature science experiments. They will also receive snacks and a free CD featuring Christian music. On Wednesday, the Oglebay Good Zoo will bring animals to visit. On Friday, VBS will conclude with a picnic at noon, where the children will sing and talk about what they learned. Anyone is welcome.

“The kids will have so much fun,” said Holtsclaw. In addition to program coordinators, VBS will be staffed by 30 to 40 youth church members.

Though Thoburn met the initial goal for pre-registration, interested parties can still register at There is no cost, but donations are appreciated as each child will receive a t-shirt. The website also features a video with scenes from past “Weird Animals” programs. Thoburn United Methodist Church is located at 209 E. Main Street in St. Clairsville. Call (740) 695-0770 for more information.

Warner may be reached at mwarner@timesleaderon