Tabernacle hosts vacation bible school

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Children line up for the giant slide at the Ocean City Tabernacle’s vacation bible school. Children line up for the giant slide at the Ocean City Tabernacle’s vacation bible school. OCEAN CITY — One hundred and ninety-one eager children spent the better part of two weeks at the Tabernacle’s Vacation Bible School.

The children were treated to elaborate skits at the beginning and end of each day of bible school. In each skit, a valuable lesson concerning Jesus unfolded.

Dubbed “Space Quest,” the campers – assisted by a team of counselors – performed an assortment of experiments in pursuit of Jesus. Each day, they attempted to “launch” a 12-foot rocket made of cardboard inside the Tabernacle to get to heaven, but a series of mishaps caused take-off to be postponed.

The students had to use their imagination. Looking to emulate Noah, who filled his ark with animals to escape a flood, flight mechanic Jeff, one of the counselors, got confused and mistakenly decided to load the heaven-bound rocket with “pets from the zoo.” One calamity after another meant heaven remained elusive.

In the process, the children learned they didn’t need a rocket ship to take them to Jesus or heaven.

“You didn’t have to set it off,” Cmdr. Eric, aka Eric Hitchner, the Tabernacle’s youth outreach coordinator, explained to the children. “We found out where Jesus is. He’s in your heart.”

Just for fun, the campers eagerly watched as Hitchner and his fellow counselors, using a mechanical lift, “launched” the rocket to the ceiling inside the Tabernacle on the last day of bible school.

“They got a kick out of it,” Hitchner said. 

The camp has proven to be very popular, he said. Starting out as a small gathering several years ago, it’s grown in size.

“We do the skits every day and the kids love that,” he said. “They’re really quite large productions. It adds a lot to the camp. It’s just grown and grown over the years.”

While the first vacation bible school program has ended, another one begins in August. On Aug. 1, “Amazing Wonders” comes to the Tabernacle. Campers will experience all of the wonders of “different, amazing” wonders of the world, Hitchner said.

“It’s educational, with a religious theme,” he said. “And it’s fun, of course.”

At the end of the each session, campers enjoy “carnival day,” with lots of games including a giant inflatable, water slide.

“The carnival day in August is even bigger,” Hitchner said. “We’re going to have a dunk tank, the whole nine yards.”

“We really enjoy hosting the camp,” Hitchner said. “The kids have a great time and so do we.”

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