Ten Things You May Not Know About Our Vacation Bible School

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10.) The First Baptist Church of Sylva hasn’t hosted its own Vacation Bible School in over a decade. 

9.) For the last ten years, our church has partnered with other churches from downtown Sylva to provide a Vacation Bible School experience to the community at Bridge Park. 

 8.) Representatives of each participating church gather months in advance to begin their planning. This year, our first meeting was in February. 

7.) A curriculum is selected that unites our churches in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to children and youth. We strive to find lesson plans that are rooted in strong Bible stories with a clear message of God’s love and mercy in Jesus. 

6.) For the first time, our 1st Explorers Ministry’s Summer Explorers Camp includes the week of Vacation Bible School in its summer lineup. 

5.) Several ministers from local churches participate in Vacation Bible School each day. For many years running, Blake Daniel—the pastor at First Presbyterian—and I have led the opening and closing sessions together. Kelly Brown is the longtime coordinator of our community VBS, and our church’s staff members have always been leaders with the children. This year, and including our Summer Explorers Staff, our church has 17 staff members actively involved in the leadership of VBS.  

 4.) Volunteers from our church have cheerfully and faithfully taken the lead each year in setting up the tents, chairs, tables, and projector screens each morning of VBS in the park. They are finished before many of us have had our first cup of coffee. Additionally, volunteers from our church make sure children are checked in and registered. At the conclusion of camp each day, this same crew returns to pack everything up and stores the supplies at their own homes.  

3.) Typically, 55-70 children are present for VBS on the first day of camp. By the week’s end, that number typically grows to 75-100. This year, we had 160 children and youth present on the first day of camp. 

2.) For most of its tenure, our church has hosted the closing ceremony and lunch in our Mission and Fellowship Center. Volunteers from our church have helped to provide the meal and to provide hospitality. We typically are able to pay for the meal expense through an offering that we take up after our final program. All VBS expenses are shared by the partnering churches. This year’s closing ceremony will be at the Methodist Church at noon on Friday, June 15.  

1.) The Vacation Bible School our community hosts together is one of the best things we do each year.  

Asheville Tourists Game


Join us for an Asheville Tourists Baseball Game on Sunday afternoon, June 23. First pitch is at 2:05 PM. General admission tickets are $8.50 for an adult, $6.50 for children, military, and seniors. Arrive when you want, and leave when you’d like. Purchase in advance, or at the gate as you wish. Sit together in the general admission section, or upgrade your seats and brag about your great view. Regardless, we’ll be together at the park. See you at the ballpark for an afternoon of baseball! 

BALL Club Lunch and Bingo


BALL Club ...

Thursday, June 27, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

at FBC Mission Fellowship Center 

Lunch and Bingo with some of our FBC 1st Explorer Campers

It will be a chance for BALL Club participants and some of our FBC campers to get better acquainted and have fun together. 

Everyone bring your own lunch

We’ll provide ice cream sundaes 

Please let Tia know you are attending by Tuesday, June 25, so we will know how many campers we can invite. We will probably have only two campers at each table. 

Stained Glass Windows for Sale!

Help! We have windows for sale! The stained glass windows from the Chapel are on display in the Gathering Room and you may have one for a donation as you feel led to give. Also the new column can be purchased for any donation. These donations will go to the Raise the Roof Campaign. Please take a piece of our Church history home with you! 

WCU Early Music Ensemble Alumni Reunion Concert

WCU Early Music Ensemble Alumni
Reunion Concert

Some 30 vocalists of the choral ensemble which presented the annual Madrigal Christmas Dinners at WCU will join together, in order to  present a concert at 6:30 PM in the Recital Hall of the Coulter Building on Saturday, June 22.  The concert is free and open to the public. 

Under the leadership of Dr. Robert Holquist (retired WCU Director of Choral Activities), the group will be singing favorite madrigals, ceremonial selections, and Christmas choral settings which were favorites of the group members, and the audiences which enjoyed the Madrigal Dinners from 1970--2013.  "The main reason we are doing this is to sing together again," said Holquist, "and we hope that our followers will be able to come to hear us revisit a part of our past."  Holquist joined the WCU music faculty in 1979, where the Madrigal Dinners had been done since 1970, with the University Center staff and Food Services providing the dinner, service, decorations, and the set.  Dramatic assistance was provided by students and faculty from the Theatre Department (now School of Stage and Screen).  Dr. and Mrs. James Dooley reigned as "Lord and Lady of the Feaste" from 1979--2009.  Their roles were assumed by Boyd and Lynda Sossamon for 2010--2013.

The alumni represent singers from those first years up to the last production, in 2013.  "I am thrilled to be meeting with this group of singers again!  We worked hard, but always enjoyed making music together.  These opportunities are often not available to people, when they leave the university setting. We won't be in costume, one will not see the Wassail Bowl, Boar's Head, nor the Figgy Pudding, but I assure you, our singing will bring back those memories," Holquist quipped.

Welcome Home


Greetings are important in any missionary work. But special importance is given to greeting a newborn.

Koffi and Elisabeth had drifted from their Christian faith and were both living far from their own people group. Lomé, Togo, is a very big city and it is easy to get lost. But soon a group of refugees from Ivory Coast who are working with Togo House Ministries found them and took them in.

The newlyweds soon discovered they were parents to be, but with no family around to help, did not know how they would make it. Their new friends from Ivory Coast pitched in. A room was found for the couple to rent, a job was found for Koffi and daily prayers and visits shared with Elisabeth.

A week after little Gracia arrived it was time for her first coming out. The new parents choose Wednesday Bible Study, which meets in a garage in the Ivorians house for the occasion. Greetings and blessings in prayers and songs were shared over this newest family member by all of us—and in a real way by those who partner with CBF. Together, we greet Gracia and welcome her to her new home, the family of God.

- Lynn & Mike Hutchinson, CBF field personnel serving in Togo, West Africa