Sunday School conducts the VBS every year in
June or July during the Summer Vacation.
KUVBS was conducted jointly by CSI and Mar
Thoma Parishes in Kuwait till 2010, and from
onwards both parishes were able to conduct
the VBS separately.
Average of about
800 children attend these VBS.
"Let the little children come
to me. Do not stop them, because t
A BRIEF HISTORY OF VBS and a
brief about VBS in Kuwait
the little children come to me. Do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God
belongs to such as these". Mk 10:14
is one of the many means by which JESUS seeks children and youth into His
V B S
BIBLE centered study
SCHOOL which maintains a
is a movement, which has in its existence of over 50 years, transformed
children, youth and adults into God honoring men and women. Many of the
Indian Christian Leaders of today are those whose lives were touched by God
and who had committed their lives to the Lord during VBS.
work has expanded tremendously in the recent years and more and more non
Christian children are covered each year. Yet the percentage is just a drop
in the ocean considering the Indian Population. The challenge of reaching
India with the message of the gospel is great. Every ones prayer and active
involvement in the mission will bring a change.
Lord bless this years Kuwait United Vacation Bible School and all the VBS in
Vacation Bible School
Rev. Lester John Hamilton
and Mrs. Mary Hamilton
Rev. Lester John Hamilton and Mrs.
The Hamiltons (American Missionaries,) arrived in India in 1951 and were
given only a brief period of language study before being plunged into the
activities of the South India Bible Institute in Bangarapet, Kolar District,
Karnataka.. But they both continued to learn Kannada throughout their
ministry in India, and found themselves quite at home with the language. In
1952, Mrs. Mary Hamilton was requested to prepare materials for a model
Vacation Bible School, and this was so well received that it has grown to
become an annual event in many parts of India, and other countries in the
world. Now millions of children are attending VBS classes in different
countries in different languages. Even though the Hamiltonís turned over the
leadership of the VBS office into national hands, they continued to remain
involved with it and gave their time and assistance until they left India in
Rev. and Mrs. Hamilton were teachers in the South
India Biblical Seminary in Bangarapet, in Karnataka. They both were highly
talented and have enriched the lives of many who came in contact with them.
Their many and varied contributions to the ministries of South India
Biblical Seminary and the Vacation Bible school movement will not be soon
forgotten and we thank God for having brought them to serve in India.
In April, 1986, Rev. Hamilton retired and Mrs.
Hamilton continued her work with World Gospel Mission for few more years.
They now live a retired life in the US.
of the staff and students of the South India Bible Seminary (SIBS),
Bangarapet introduced VBS to 75 children and 8 teachers at Kovilpatti, Tamil
Nadu. The VBS proved to be a success.
was the nurturing period for the infant VBS Ministry. The number of VBS
centers increased to 25, enrolling 4500 children. VBS was introduced at
Mallappally, Kerala and also near Mysore City in Karnataka by SIBS student
Directors. In 1956, a VBS Directors' course and a methodology course in VBS
was introduced at SIBS.
number of centers totaled 100 and the student enrollment was increased to
33,500. A follow up work were initiated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by CSSM
Area Directors which included VBS Prayer Cells, Bible Reading Notes and
mid-year rallies. The same year a new three year course for VBS written by
Esther and Theodore Williams was published.
VBS movement began to work more closely with CSSM which provided area
directors, organized teams for many centers and successfully fulfilled the
follow-up work. VBS materials in Marathi was first published in 1965.
was the period of rapid growth for the VBS Ministry. Many new projects were
undertaken and drastic changes were introduced during this period. The total
number of Children attending the VBS classes exceeded 46,000 by 1970. A new
building for VBS was dedicated on 18th Dec. 1971 at Bangalore. In 1972, VBS
materials were printed in Gujarathi for the first time. The Jubilee Year was
celebrated in 1977 and the theme for the year was 'Knowing Jesus'. Separate
materials for non-Christian children titled 'Jesus loves you' were
introduced in 1979. By 1980, the number of children attending the VBS in
various part of the country rose to 1,42,000.
1982 alone over 1,50,000 children were reached through this great Ministry.
The first All-India VBS Leaders' Workshop was held at Bangalore in March
1986 with 42 participants from 7 Indian states. Besides this Workshop,
several regional and local training programs were conducted from this year
onwards. VBS theme song cassettes in six languages were launched. Another
introduction in 1986 was the 'Young Adult Course' in English and Tamil
languages. Following this, penetration programs were conducted in Mizoram,
North Assam, Darwad, Kottayam, Ambernath, Nagpur, Manipur and other places.
The number of children increased many fold during the ensuing years and also
other activities as well. This period was a productive period for the VBS
Vacation Bible School
Thoma Church and CSI in co-operation with Kerala CSSM started the Kerala
United Vacation Bible School in 1981. It made tremendous progress during
these years with the whole-hearted support of both the Churches and the
Sunday School leaders. Over 80,000 students and 7,000 teachers participated
in the Kerala VBS during 1995.
VBS in Kuwait
first VBS in Kuwait was held in 1983 under the auspices of the Mar Thoma
Church. However, in 1984, Mar Thoma and CSI Parishes joined together and
organized the Kuwait United Vacation Bible School. On an average, 750
students and 60 teachers participate actively in the VBS which is conducted
on all Fridays from 3.30 to 6.30 p.m. for three months from June to August.
The Directors for each year are selected from among the Sunday School
Teachers of either Mar Thoma or CSI Parish. The teaching materials are
usually brought from India; but the song cassettes are recorded locally by
the VBS Choir. In 1990, the KUVBS had to be abruptly stopped due to the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. There was a break for two years as it took quite
some time for the children to return to Kuwait after the liberation. By the
grace of God Almighty, the KUVBS was started once again in full swing in
the beginning our children accepted the Vacation Bible School with great
enthusiasm and participated whole-heartedly in all its activities. Over the
years KUVBS was instrumental in bringing the children closer to Jesus and
had lead many to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
In 1993 KUVBS
theme was "Think On These Things" based on Philippians4:8 and about 650
In 1994 the
theme was "Choose Ye This Day" based on Jushua 24:15 and about 700 students
The theme for
1995 KUVBS was "Let us keep the feast" based on 1st Cor. 5:8
In 1996 the
theme was "Press Toward the Goal" based on Philippians 3:14
the Vacation Bible school was organized on a daily basis. Total Twelve days
of Classes and two days of Programs were arranged for the students. A
trained Leader comes from India to lead the KUVBS. Rev. Joe Joseph
Kuruvilla, General Secretary of the Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam,
Tiruvalla came to Kuwait as Leader for the KUVBS during 1997.
years KUVBS was jointly conducted by Mar Thoma and CSI Churches during
(8th-22nd June 2007)
Theme: "Jesus Christ - Model" (John
Director: Rev. Minoy N. Kuruvilla
year 2011 onwards, due to the growth of both CSI and Mar Thoma Parish
members in Kuwait, the VBS was conducted separately by both parishes.
"Abba Father" based on Mark 14:36 was an apt theme for the year for
the first VBS conducted solely by the Kuwait Mar Thoma Parish that was
held from 10-24 June 2011 at Marina Hall and Indian Central School
premises. Mr. Anil K. Sam, Asst. Secretary of CSSM, whose dynamic
leadership to the VBS made it vibrant. Every member took it upon
themselves as individuals or prayer groups to be part of the VBS.
There were 563 registered students, 69 teachers and 34 Volunteers.
"Abba Father" in 2011 to "Get Set Go" (Luke 10:3) in 2012, the
first VBS after re--instating our Parish as the Kuwait City Mar Thoma
Parish was held from 8-22nd June, 2012 at the Marina Hall and Indian
Central School premises. The Director Rev. Pramod Mathew Thomas
gave a very dynamic and enthusiastic leadership. There were 552
students, 73 teachers (incl. Music teachers) and 25 volunteers.
City Mar Thoma VBS 2013 was held in United Indian School, Abbasiya and
Marina Hall from 7th to 21st June 2013. The theme of the VBS was
"Fruit Bearers" (Gal 5: 22-23). The Asst. Director of CSSM,
Mr. Jose K. Scaria was the Director. His prayerful and thought provoking
devotions touched the teachers and students alike. There were 588
students, 66 teachers, 28 volunteers and 16 members Music Team.