On your mark, get set, get ready for Feast Bible school

The writer attends the Orange County Fellowship in Irvine, Calif., with her husband, Scott, and two children, Kyler and Megan.

By Carolyn Scharpen

MISSION VIEJO, Calif.--When is it acceptable for kids to run during a church service? Most people would say never, yet the action was met with joy at last year's Feast of Tabernacles in Palm Springs, Calif., sponsored by Guardian Ministries of Pasadena, Calif.

What had the youngsters so revved up?

It was an eight-day sequential Bible-school program called "Becoming a Godly Builder" geared for children 3-12 years old.

Plans are already well under way for a similar program for the 2002 Feast of Tabernacles, which begins the evening of Sept. 20.

Bolting and bursting

Each day during last year's Feast, when the announcement came that it was time for Bible school, kids actually jumped out of their seats and bolted for the schoolroom, bursting with excitement.

Each day the kids' supervisors would welcome them into a room decorated with colorful graphics and wall posters that provided a visual road map for the program.

Each day children learned a spiritual lesson, completed a craft and memorized songs related to the "Godly Builder" theme.

Each day kids shot their hands up, yearning to participate in the class discussion. And each day parents and grandparents told teachers they had never seen their kids so excited about Bible school.

The first lesson, "Consider the Cost," had children budgeting, buying materials for a house they would build later in the week and paying themselves a wage of a small toy or a lollipop.

Successive days included "Jesus Wants You for a Builder," "Build Upon the Right Foundation," "Use the Right Tools," "Don't Delay!," "Rejoice in Your Labors" and "You Are God's Masterpiece."

The teachers announced future lessons and activities to heighten the children's excitement and keep them wanting to come back.

And come back they did.

"Our kids have never wanted to go back to Bible school anywhere," said one parent. "Today they said they didn't need to bring anything with them to do during services because they were definitely going to Bible school."

An instructor, Stephanie Liesenfelt, said the kids were animated with enthusiasm for the activities.

"After teaching the first day and encouraging them to have a happy Feast and to make sure I was doing the same," she said, "I had children asking me dozens of times each day, 'Are you having a happy Feast, Mrs. L?' Their excitement about Bible school was infectious to the point that we had adults stopping by before services to ask if they could come to Bible school."

Special music

Crafts included making tool belts, wall hangings, crowns and picture frames. The kids learned songs that related to the theme and performed special music on the last day of the Feast.
After their performance, the children enjoyed a "housewarming party" with a cake and balloons.

At the end of the program, each child received an "I'm a Godly Builder" certificate and an activity book to take home.

"It was great to see so many people work together on this," said teacher Rosemary Stogner.
The sponsoring Guardian Ministries, founded by David and Molly Antion of Pasadena, lent their support to the program, ensuring that a room was available for the school for the whole Feast period.

Five parents from two congregations designed lessons, selected music, bought craft materials and assisted each other throughout the week.

Husbands looked after young children so their wives could teach the classes, and parents and grandparents joined the class daily to help out.

But perhaps most heartwarming, said participants, was the interaction between the kids, teachers and other volunteers during the Feast. One of the teachers, Lola Lee Grisham, made special cookies for the children. Kids wrote thank-you notes to those they observed in service roles. Greetings, hugs and thank-you cards were exchanged generously throughout the festival.

"Are you going to teach next year, Mrs. L?" Laurel Benitez asked Stephanie Liesenfelt. "I sure hope so!"

Well, good news, Laurel. The team will be back this year at the Guardian Ministries' site in the Santa Ynez Valley, near Solvang, Calif.

The Feast this fall

Organizers are working on the theme for Feast of Tabernacles 2002 and look forwarding to seeing the kids again.

For more information on the Guardian Ministries Feast for 2002, check out

Contact Dr. Antion with any questions at

If you would like to assist with this year's Bible-school program, contact program coordinator Carolyn Scharpen at

The Journal: News of the Churches of God is available from P.O. Box 1020, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A., and For more information write . To comment on this article or any other article or feature in The Journal or Connections, write . The preceding article or feature is from The Journal, April 15, 2002.

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