singer / storyteller / humorist / folk-theologian
I have been known for most of my career as a singer, storyteller, and folk-theologian that resourced congregations in worship and in concert, primarily on Sunday mornings and afternoons. During the last 20 years, I went from being a spectator to a card-carrying member of the senior adult demographic and I began to do events specifically for the senior "saints and sages" of the church.
A new format emerged from an event I did in 2015 in Mississippi. Senior Adult Vacation Bible School. Yes, that’s what I said. Senior Adult VBS. Parkway Heights United in Hattiesburg, MS is a medium/large congregation with a sizable group of older adults. They planned a three day series and invited me to keynote their time together. To my knowledge no one had ever put on a Senior VBS. I have since learned that while it is not a new idea, this format was unique. And this event was a great success. So much so that I returned to Hattiesburg the next year for a second VBS event as well as leading VBS events at four other churches the next year. In 2017 I did 10 and in 2018, 15 are on the calendar. So recently, I decided to make leading these events my life's work.
The format schedule begins with a Sunday in worship and in concert. My leadership in the Sunday morning services and afternoon concert, while not a part of the Vacation Bible School series, is important in introducing me and my music and storytelling to the church community. It also get folks interested and excited about the Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday sessions, boosting attendance and motivating members to invite others to come. The Sunday afternoon concert ("It's Four O'Clock Somewhere") is a church wide event, giving members of all ages a chance to attend since the Mon-Wed VBS event is only for the senior saints.
The Bible School itself is held Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday morning beginning at 9:30 with gathering and social time and then the Bible School from 10:00 to noon (with a short break). Each session of Biblical storytelling and teaching, music, humor and worship ends at 12 followed by a potluck or catered meal. At the Parkway Heights event, about 80 seniors attended each day. Events in 2016 and 2017 ranged in size from 60 to 120.
Here's a list of those who have already hosted my VBS Series plus what is coming up on the calendar.
08/17-20 ~ Hattiesburg, MS ~ Parkway Heights UM Church
07/31-08/3 ~ Wake Forest, NC ~ Wake Forest UM Church
08/7-10 ~ Pineville, NC ~ Pineville UM Church
08/14-17 ~ Monroe, LA ~ St Paul's UM Church
08/21-24 ~ Hattiesburg, MS ~ Main Street UM Church (VBS 2)
05/22-25 ~ St Simons Island ~ Epworth-By-The-Sea UM Conference Center
07/30-08/02 ~ Anderson, SC ~ Trinity UM Church
08/6-9 ~ Winston-Salem, NC ~ Pine Grove UM Church
08/13-16 ~ Monroe, LA ~ First UM Church
08/20-23 ~ Coraopolis, PA ~ Coraopolis UM Church
08/27-30 ~ N Augusta, SC ~ Grace UM Church
09/11-13 ~ Pineville, NC ~ Pineville UM Church (VBS 2)
09/17-20 ~ Mooresville, NC ~ Williamson's Chapel UM Church
09/25-27 ~ Wake Forest, NC ~ Wake Forest UM Church (VBS 2)
10/16-19 ~ Murrells Inlet, SC ~ Belin UM Church
02/19-21 ~ Camden, SC ~ Lyttleton UM Church
05/21-24 ~ St Simons Island, GA ~ Epworth-By-The-Sea UM Conference Center (VBS 2)
06/17-20 ~ Little River, SC ~ Little River UM Church
07/29-08/1 ~ Anderson, SC ~ Trinity UM Church (VBS 2)
08/5-8 ~ Mooresville, NC ~ Williamson's Chapel UM Church (VBS 2)
08/13-15 ~ Granbury, TX ~ Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
08/19-22 ~ Tupelo, MS ~ St Luke's UM Church
08/26-29 ~ N Augusta, SC ~ Grace UM Church (VBS 2)
09/9-12 ~ Lake Junaluska, NC ~ Longs Chapel UM Church
09/16-19 ~ Coraopolis, PA ~ Coraopolis UM Church (VBS 2)
09/23-26 ~ Lexington, KY ~ Southern Hills UM Church
09/30-10/3 ~ Shreveport, LA ~ Broadmoor UM Church
10/28-31 ~ Morganton, NC ~ First UM Church
11/4-7 ~ Winston-Salem, NC ~ Pine Grove UM Church (VBS 2)
11/11-14 ~ Jackson, TN ~ First UM Church
1/20-23 ~ Murrells Inlet, SC ~ Belin UM Church (VBS 2)
8/11-14 ~ Monroe, LA ~ First UM Church (VBS 3)
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL