Orthodox Vacation Bible School 2017 : Generations Thriving in Faith

The St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church’s Orthodox Vacation Bible School (OVBS) was held from the 9th of June (Friday) to the 11th of June (Sunday). Bearing the theme ‘Generations Thriving in Faith’, the OVBS was attended by 36 students (of which, 21 stayed overnight from Friday to Sunday), all the way from ages 7 to 16, alongside a handful of Sunday School teachers and volunteers from the Youth Fellowship. For decades, the purpose of the OVBS was centered on developing the children of today, spiritually, into the leaders of tomorrow and OVBS 2017 : ‘Generations Thriving in Faith’ was no exception. The 3-day, 2-night camp was filled with enlightening sessions, interesting activities and exciting games that aimed to build faith and character among the participating children.

          Lily Ammachi conducting the sing-along sessions

The OVBS began on Friday with a sing-along session conducted by Lily Ammachi. Throughout the duration of the OVBS, with Lily Ammachi’s guidance during the plentiful sing-along sessions, the participants were able to learn a handful of songs that were performed on the final day in front of the congregation.

Sessions led by Philip Thomas Achen and Jejis Achen

Both Friday and Saturday were packed with sessions that were led by Youth Fellowship volunteers, Sunday School teachers and Achens. The participants were first sorted into groups according to age – Yellow for the youngest, followed by red, blue and maroon – and were involved in separate sessions based on their respective groups. From the lessons taught by the session leaders and Achens, the children were exposed to various aspects of spiritual life that were necessary in growing up as faithful member of the church. Sessions handled by the Jejis Achen were focused on applying the Church’s prayers and hymns in everyday life while Philip Thomas Achen’s sessions equipped the children with values that are essential in the development of a competent individual. On both Friday and Saturday nights, the children that stayed over also had the privilege of engaging in a chit-chat session with the Achens, where they were able to discuss various topics freely.

                                                                    Arts and craft activity                   Aaron and Grace leading early morning Zumba

The OVBS was also livened with a variety of activities and games. From Zumba to arts and crafts to a bible-verse treasure hunt and most memorably, to the Amazing Grace, the participants were nourished both mentally and physically throughout the OVBS. All the activities and games were focused on building a sense of character, teamwork and creativity upon a strong spiritual foundation, by ensuring that the children had to work together in teams to complete tasks or win games. Running around the compound, playing ‘Just Dance’ and getting drenched by buckets of water also provided the participants (and facilitators) with some much needed fun and relaxation.

The OVBS 2017 ended on Sunday with all the children participating in the Holy Qurbana. The closing ceremony was held in the St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral after the Holy Qurbana, where the participants of the OVBS 2017 were given their certificates of participation, officially concluding the Orthodox Vacation Bible School 2017. While many participants were completely exhausted by the end of the three days, all of the children who attended the OVBS 2017 had an amazing time and were definitely enriched in body, spirit and mind with the essentials to become a generation thriving in faith.

More photos and videos can be found on the Sunday School’s Facebook page as well as on our Flickr account.