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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Children have been going to vacation Bible school for 120 years. Now, it's their grandparents' turn. That is the thinking of one Joplin congregation.
Peace Lutheran Church will hold its first senior vacation Bible school this month, an event that will not only include four days of Bible study but also two workshops a day that run the gamut from arts to apps, The Joplin Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1qUn6rs ).
Lana Nelson, a member of the Peace Lutheran Church Council, said she hopes that some of the activities will help bridge the gap between the younger and older generations. Two of the workshops, iPhone apps and Wii classes, should go a long way toward achieving that goal.
"Quite often, seniors have the technology but don't fully know how to use it," said Nelson.
In addition to pinochle and ping pong, there will be chess for those interested in games. The arts and crafts field will include a fabric arts project, greeting card crafts, watercolor class, prayer shawl knit and crochet class. Tai chi classes will be available for the more active participants, and there will be a class for hymn singing and choir as well.
With all the hands-on activities, there will also be a place to just sit, relax and talk. This is the conversation corner on topics of participants' choice.
Then there is the personal history project, in which seniors get the opportunity to write their life stories. Nelson said she realizes this may take longer than the four sessions, but it will be a good starting point and a project where photos can be incorporated.
"My daughter is helping my aunt, who will be 95 next month, to write her story," Nelson said. "We have a format that people can follow to get them started, along with lesson plans. This may actually be a study hall atmosphere."
Last, but certainly not least, will be armchair traveler discussions. Nelson said this may be more aptly suited to the not-so-active seniors and is a step up from the conversation corner.
"We have a few people who have traveled to foreign countries, and they might bring their souvenirs," she said. "It is just a time to hear about people's travels, and they might also bring their scrapbooks."
Nelson got the idea from a Lutheran magazine. She said she just felt this was something Peace Lutheran could do within the church budget and abilities.
Not only will it be a program for church members themselves but also an outreach ministry. Church volunteers have distributed more than 200 flyers announcing the event throughout the community.
Nelson said she hopes the senior vacation Bible school will catch on and become an annual event.
She said she knows of no other church in the Joplin area that has such a program. She also pointed out that today's seniors are more healthy than ever, with lots of time on their hands.
"It is kind of a re-energizing time of life, and what we hope is that this (program) will be re-energizing," she said.
Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com
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