Area Churches Consider Summer Activity Options

Some remain uncertain, while others ready to resume in-person VBS, camps

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, summer for Dallas churches typically meant hosting thousands of children for programs and vacation Bible schools.

Churches often view these programs as ways to reach families, and caregivers see them as safe places for children during the dog days of summer at home.

But 2020 forced programs online, and as the end of this school year nears, churches are taking various approaches to their summer programming. Here’s what some are saying:

We’re full of excitement as people are signing up and expressing their joy about being able to offer summer camps and activities in person and have their kids safely gather with friends.

Lori Swarner

Park Cities Baptist Church 

Park Cities Baptist Church will use a variety of approaches with its VBS and summer day camps: in-person, virtual, indoor, and outdoor accommodations. Of course, this summer looks starkly different than last year when the member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas did not have in-person VBS or day camps. But PCBC did offer “Virtual VBS,” where families could tune in every day for music, teaching, and activities. 

As this summer in 2021 draws near, PCBC’s Summer Fun Camps are back, and registration is open. PCBC is offering VBS in three ways: in-person during the daytime, virtually June 7-11, and in-person during the evening June 23-25.

“We’re full of excitement as people are signing up and expressing their joy about being able to offer summer camps and activities in person and have their kids safely gather with friends,” said PCBC communications director Lori Swarner. 

Grace Bible Church

Grace Bible Church, located on Inwood Road, is not presently hosting VBS, said GBC office assistant Olivia Dittrich. However, Dittrich added, Pine Cove Camp is partnering with GBC on June 21-25 for Camp in the City, available for first through sixth graders in the Dallas area. Monday through Friday, the program includes activities and Bible studies. 

Park Cities Presbyterian Church 

Last summer, Park Cities Presbyterian Church provided an all-online VBS. PCPC created a seven-year rotation of VBS curriculum, so church employees could take last years’ material and make it available online to anyone who wanted to participate. 

This summer is less certain for PCPC, said communications director Shawn Davis. 

“We are making plans, but we’re holding all plans very loosely,” said Davis. “We have a team of doctors that are continuing to help us assess the situation on a week-to-week basis.”

Christ the King Catholic Church 

Christ the King Catholic Church is not publicly announcing any summer programs. If members of this Catholic Church are interested in this information, executive communications director Aurelia Corbitt said they should check in with their parish for summer plans. 

Highland Park United Methodist Church

HPUMC’s summer calendar is published on the church’s website. From June to August, youth programs include “Crave,” a bible study for middle schoolers that meets at the Tolleson Family Activity Center on Wednesdays, and “Blueprint,” a mission trip for students in seventh through 12th grade. From July 5 to 10, HPUMC’s mission trip will work in restoring homes for elderly, disabled, and low-income residents in San Antonio, and costs $550 per student.

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