Shanes Jones, left, and Jake Gann enjoy a snack at Forever Friends VBS Wednesday evening at First Baptist Hartselle. | Joy Harris
Shanes Jones, left, and Jake Gann enjoy a snack at Forever Friends VBS Wednesday evening at First Baptist Hartselle. | Joy Harris

Archived Story

Forever Friends VBS held at First Baptist

Published 2:50pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First Baptist Hartselle held its Forever Friends vacation Bible school for the second time this year.

Forever Friends VBS is a way of allowing adults with special needs the vacation Bible school experience. It is an extension of the Forever Friends Sunday school class First Baptist holds every week.

Director Robin Fanning said it was their way of reaching those in the community with special needs.

“We found a statistic that said 80 percent of homes that have a special needs member do not attend church,” Fanning said. “After finding the adapted VBS online last year, we asked the minister if we could have our own VBS for our Forever Friends group. He told us to go for it, and it has worked out well so far. Since then we have gotten more helpers and leaders.”

Students follow the same theme as the morning VBS, Agency D3- Discover, Decide, Defend. Class starts with a meeting at “headquarters” for a brief on the lesson for the day. Student then learned about a Bible story, enjoyed snacks, made crafts, made music in the “communication department” and completed “missions.”

Fanning said they had great participation this year. They grew from three or four students a night to eight or nine a night. Of the 13 they had on roll, only three were already from their congregation.

Fanning, an RN who worked with special needs students for years, said the VBS is open to anyone with physical or mental disabilities. She said everyone has benefitted from the fellowship Forever Friends has allowed the students.

“Four different high schools were represented here, so everyone was able to see their high school peers they hadn’t really seen since high school.” Fanning said. “The VBS has really been a blessing for the students. Our Sunday school class is great fellowship for them with its outings and fun, but this VBS lets them see and meet old and new friends.”

Fanning feels this ministry is going to continue to thrive and flourish.

“I really believe this work is going to grow,” Fanning said. “More churches are beginning to get involved with this, so I’m sure it will take off soon.”

Kane Etheredge sports his new "secret agent" sunglasses Wednesday at Forever Friends VBS at First Baptist Hartselle. | Joy Harris
Kane Etheredge sports his new “secret agent” sunglasses Wednesday at Forever Friends VBS at First Baptist Hartselle. | Joy Harris
First Baptist Hartselle had a Forever Friends Vacation Bible School this week with a special agent theme. Students and volunteers included, from left, (seated) Jessica Strain, Shane Jones, Jake Gann, Kane Etheredge, Jake Cole, David Barrios, (standing) Jackie Bowman, Pam Sibley, Leslie Etheredge, Chad Gladden, Brianna Dempsey, Cleo Mason, Robin Fanning and Jill Bennich. Not pictured are Mandy Tippett, Maddie Grace Gladden and Anna Claire Gladden. | Joy Harris
First Baptist Hartselle had a Forever Friends Vacation Bible School this week with a special agent theme. Students and volunteers included, from left, (seated) Jessica Strain, Shane Jones, Jake Gann, Kane Etheredge, Jake Cole, David Barrios, (standing) Jackie Bowman, Pam Sibley, Leslie Etheredge, Chad Gladden, Brianna Dempsey, Cleo Mason, Robin Fanning and Jill Bennich. Not pictured are Mandy Tippett, Maddie Grace Gladden and Anna Claire Gladden. | Joy Harris

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