Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel holds vacation Bible school

Stephanie Durazo tells Bible stories at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.

Story and photos by Brandon Bosworth

Contributing Writer

Vacation Bible school kicked off July 16 at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel. The week-long session features activities involving art, drama, music and storytelling.

“It’s perfect for parents who want their children involved in a spiritually-based activity,” said Navy Lt. Richard Tiff, Chaplain Corps.

Every year features a different theme. This year, the theme is the undersea world with the motto “Go Deep with God.” There are also different daily themes. For example, one day it was “dare to care,” which stressed the importance of being helpful and responsible.

The low-cost Bible school is extremely popular, Tiff explained. “It takes about two weeks for all the slots to fill up,” he added. There are roughly 180 children in the program, ranging in age from kindergarten to fifth grade. The older kids assume active leadership roles in helping the younger children.

Chaplain Sean Osborne and his wife Karen lead the children in
a song.

Children learn crafts at vacation Bible school.

Most of the people running the program are volunteers. Some are military spouses or family members, while others are active duty personnel. This year, there are service members from the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard working as volunteers while on leave.

One volunteer is Michelle Ragain, spouse of a Navy chaplain. “I wanted my own children to be involved in vacation Bible school, so I stepped in to volunteer,” she said. One thing that draws her to the program is its ecumenical nature. “I love the fact that there are Protestants and Catholics working together.”

Vacation Bible school isn’t just about fun activities for kids. The children also work to give back to the community. This year, they are collecting school supplies for a local elementary school with high rates of poverty.

As this year’s Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel vacation Bible school draws to a close, the Navy Chaplain Corps is already looking ahead to next year. And while the focus will always be on the children, Tiff said he sees the program as part of something bigger. “It’s for everyone, not just members of our chapel,” he said. “We want to reach out to the whole community.”

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Category: News