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.
This article explores why an increasing number of young women are falling away from church, a significant detail in the recent Pew Report about American Religion.
Why more young women than ever before are skipping church – The Washington Post.
This article describes the faith and opinion of the famous astronaut, first to walk on the moon, who supports theistic evolution and the teaching of evolution in American schools.
John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools | Fox News.
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) – CSMonitor.com.
Jeb Bush, a devout convert to Roman Catholicism, spoke at Baptist Liberty University. The article notes that most Republican candidates court conservative Protestants, which make up 34% of the Republican vote. Jeb Bush at Liberty University: Why presidential hopefuls court Evangelicals (+video) – CSMonitor.com.
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.
Efforts are underway to build a representative structure on the site of the sixty foot church where John Rolfe and Pocahontas married in the seventeenth century. This is the oldest know English church site in North America.
Archaeologists resurrect church where Pocahontas married | Fox News.
A touching story about a person in need who also felt the need to give back.
Homeless person donates priceless gift to church.
The article describes a variety of conservatives who question the validity of the state in regulating marriage due to the rise of homosexual marriages. Ministers/churches may not want to cooperate with the state but would ask couples to have a civil ceremony before the church ceremony.
On Religion – Ancient sacraments vs. paperwork for the modern state – Columns.
The university now has more than 13,000 students on campus and claims c. 100,000 total through online programs. Stunning growth for a school founded in 1971. Liberty University: The rise of a really big conservative college – CSMonitor.com.