By Christy Barritt
VBS Remains Popular
Though the numbers have dropped some in recent years, Vacation Bible School still remains popular. In 1997, 81 percent of churches offered VBS programs. In 2012, the number went down to 68 percent. This is according to a new Barna study.
The study showed that 86 percent of churches with 250 or more adult attendees and 91 percent of those with annual budgets of $500,000 or more offered the program in 2012. Seventy-eight percent of churches with between 100 and 249 adult attendees and 56 percent of churches with annual budgets of $150,000 or less offered the program that same year.
Nineteen percent of the churches that did not conduct VBS last year said it was because they did not have enough time. Approximately the same number said it was because they were already offering other programs for children. However, the most common reason (30 percent) cited was a lack of volunteers.
Alternative to Boy Scouts Emerges
A national coalition of nearly 50 leaders met at the end of June and agreed to form an alternative organization to the Boy Scouts of America. Many who are a part of this coalition were formerly associated with the BSA.
The new program will be founded on Christian values and principles, similar to the American Heritage Girls. At press time this new organization had no name.
“Our vision is to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens,” said Rob Green, the organization’s interim executive director.
Boys will not be excluded from the organization based on race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity, though adult leaders will be required to adhere to a statement of Christian faith and values, said Green.
Parental Notification Law Takes 18 Years to Go into Effect
An Illinois law passed in 1995 will finally go into effect after nearly two decades of court challenges.
The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 requires doctors to notify parents of girls 17 and under when their daughter seeks to have an abortion. The notification can be waived by a judge.
Since it was passed, the law has been through several courts. It was upheld by a federal appeals court. The American Civil Liberties Union brought another appeal on the state level, but the Illinois Supreme Court rejected that argument.
Illinois was one of the few states that did not have a law like this already in place. Because of that, minors from nearby states who wanted an abortion without their parents’ knowledge would travel across state lines.
YMCA Denies Pro-Life Students Use of Showers
An Austin, Texas YMCA reneged on its promise to let a group of pro-life students use its facilities.
Students for Life of America had reached an agreement with the Town Lake Branch of the Austin YMCA. The students were a part of a weeklong Students Stand 4 Life Bus Tour. Members were staying at churches in the area, most of which did not have showers. The YMCA agreed to work with them at first.
When angry pro-abortion activists began complaining, YMCA officials kicked the pro-lifers out.
The YMCA released a statement saying, “We strive to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to all, where people of all backgrounds are comfortable. . . . There are appropriate places in which to conduct a political debate, and that place is down the street at the State Capitol, not at our YMCA.”
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.