Salvation Army seeks help with Holy Week VBS

LAUNCHING SOMETHING NEW — Lts. Erik Muhs and his wife, Barri Vazquez-Muhs, corps officers and pastors of the Salvation Army of Steubenville at 332 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, check out the Vacation Bible School curriculum for the first-time program to be held March 27-30 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 905 Market St. Volunteers to assist with the program and donations of food are being sought. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — The Salvation Army of Steubenville is looking for children to participate and volunteers to help make possible its first Lenten season Vacation Bible School.

Lts. Erik Muhs and his wife, Barri Vazquez-Muhs, corps officers and pastors of the Salvation Army of Steubenville at 332 N. Fourth St., said the four-day VBS program will be held Holy Week at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center at 905 Market St.

It will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on March 27-29 and from noon to 2 p.m. on March 30, Good Friday. It is open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Pre-registration is helpful, so we know numbers, especially for crafts and food, but registration will be accepted until Monday, the day before, March 26,” Erik noted.

“A lot of churches provide this in the summer time when kids are out of school and parents need something for the kids to do, but we thought what would be better than to have VBS during spring break so they still are getting something during the spring break,” he said.

“We know not many other places offer this at this time of year, so that way the other churches wouldn’t be doing it at the same time, and it’s also Holy Week when we’re offering it so for those kids who don’t normally attend church on Sunday — and as we know many people just go to church on Christmas and Easter as unfortunate as it is — that way we’ll have our graduation on Easter Sunday so they can celebrate Easter with us here and at the same time hopefully find a home church if they don’t have one already,” Erik said.

VBS participants and their families will be invited to the Salvation Army church services on April 1, Easter Sunday, beginning at 10:45 a.m.

“We will have a morning service for Easter and VBS graduation, and they will get a certificate of graduation and a nice little ceremony, and it’s a time for their parents to kind of see what they’ve been doing all week, a nice culmination of that, and being here on Easter Sunday to celebrate what the Vacation Bible School really is all about,” Erik explained.

A VBS program typically offers children Christian education through stories, crafts, skits and music, for example. Barri said a light meal will be provided.

“PandaMania — Where God Is Wild About You” is the theme of the VBS program with daily lessons to include “God Creates the World,” “Jonah Tries to Escape from God,” Jesus Dies and Comes Back to Life” and “God Gives Hannah a Baby.”

The value of offering the program, according to Barri, is “It just fosters children who don’t know anything about God and Christ as well as help grow the ones who do, and just the fact it’s Holy Week it gives them something to do as well as come and learn more about Christ.”

Erik noted that since the Salvation Army has limited space for such an event and that the city of Steubenville “has graciously” open the center doors for the activity to occur.

That partnership is a win-win, according to Erik.

“We and Lori (Fetherolf, Steubenville Parks and Recreation director) both see the merit of bringing kids to the recreation center because one, it’s a great thing the city provides, and the city is always looking to fill it with groups and such and we’re more than happy to be one of those groups, especially since they just unveiled the new gym,” Erik said. “We want kids to see not only is the Salvation Army here (in the community), but so is the recreation center.”

While the couple will be leading the program, volunteers are needed.

“We are looking for volunteers to help with VBS to facilitate it and for those possibly interested in donating food,” Erik said.

Anyone interested in either capacity can contact the Salvation Army at (740) 282-5121.