The History of VBS. American Christianity

An appeal for a history of VBS appeared on Religion in American History blog. My experience is that it was a summer extension of Sunday School. It used to run two weeks but is no commonly just one week. These days there is more emphasis on the “vacation” part of the name rather than the “school” part. I hope someone follows through and writes the history!

I did find on the EBSCO site “An Improved Vacation Bible School?” Christian Century, 69 no 32 Ag 6 1952, p 893. This brief article from 1952 mentions the growth of VBS as a recent development in religious education. A historian would need to verify whether this means that VBS was new at that time or whether the growth was new.

Religion in American History.



1860 Rise in Religious Fervor Led to “In God We Trust.”

This article about an atheist’s plans to sue for the removal of “In God We Trust” from U. S. currency explains that the motto was added around the time of our great Civil War, perhaps as an expression of people’s faith that God would lead the nation through that devastating conflict. ‘In God We Trust’: Is the motto on US currency unconstitutional? (+video) –

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Significant Decline in Christian Affiliation. Pew Research Center

This study, released today, has significant finding about the decline of Christian affiliation but does not provide explanations for the declines discovered in their surveys. I would suggestion the following reasons:

Personal rather than political reasons

The breakdown of families, which normally have held people in churches

Church-life feeling more hurtful than helpful

Social norms that caused people to say they were religious in the past are fading. People are more comfortable admitting they are unaffiliated.

America’s Changing Religious Landscape | Pew Research Center.