OWOSSO TWP. — Families can travel back to biblical times and learn about Daniel’s courage in captivity — without having to leave their cars.
Owosso First Church of the Nazarene is taking a unique approach to Vacation Bible School (VBS) in this season of the coronavirus pandemic: a drive-thru VBS over a four-day period, Aug. 3-6.
The “Babylon: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity” adventure, which is open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. each night in the parking lot of the church, 1865 S. M-52.
Admission is free, and there is no advance registration. Those interested can just show up.
“The idea to hold it outdoors came from a lady at church, and I said to her, ‘Let’s go with it,’” said Kim Samson, a 50-plus-year church member who has coordinated the VBS program for many years.
Combine that suggestion with a little inspiration from the Owosso First United Methodist Church’s annual “Journey to Bethlehem,” a living nativity story, and Samson came up with Family VBS Drive-Thru.
Similar to “Journey to Bethlehem,” which tells the nativity story, the VBS at Owosso First Church of the Nazarene will feature costumed actors playing out scenes to tell a different story from the Book of Daniel each night. They will also read Bible passages.
The stories include Daniel being taken into captivity; in the lion’s den; interpreting the king’s dream; and the fiery furnace incident.
The stories’ scenes will be performed at different “stations” inside the parking lot for vehicles as they wind through the lot.
“We chose this Bible school program because these stories about Daniel will help us right now as we find courage to face the changes in our lives (cause by the virus),” Samson said. “Daniel showed how God helped him and how God will help us.”
Live music, performed by two teenaged church members on a flatbed truck, will be piped into attendees’ car radios, thanks to an FM transmission device previously used to livestream Sunday worship services during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Snacks will be handed to families through their car windows, along with a different take-home craft kit for the kids on each of the four nights.
While some other area churches are canceling VBS this year, Owosso First Church of the Nazarene members said they wanted to give children something to do this summer, given that they have access to very few organized summer activities and couldn’t attend school last spring.
“I think the kids and adults will enjoy the different stations they enter, and listening to music through the radio,” said Julie Seamans, longtime church member and church secretary. “We wanted to be creative and give something to our community that hasn’t been done before, while at the same time keeping everybody safe.”
Brett Meyer, who leads classes at the church and serves on the VBS committee, said the Owosso First Church of the Nazarene is trying with the VBS program to strike the balance between delivering an entertaining activity while being respectful of people’s health concerns.
“We think it’s great that this summer, we’re involving entire families in VBS instead of just kids, which should generate more discussion at home,” Meyer said. “We’re always looking for ways to involve the whole family at this church.”
For more information about the church, visit owossonazarene.org or call (989) 723-2229.