No Classes at Bible House this Semester
Wed, 08/26/2020 - 11:07am admin
For the first time since its opening in 2004, The Bible House will not hold classes this semester. Patty Wiersema, founder of the Bible House said, “I met with Superintendent Bill Hall, and with social distancing restrictions, we couldn’t see a way to make it work. We hope to resume classes next semester.”
The Bible House provides biblical education for kids in grades K-8 one hour a week in its location across from the school. It is affiliated with Children’s Bible Ministries, which includes Released Time Christian Education. The Released Time model provides a way for children in public school to receive biblical instruction during school hours.
Wiersema says she wanted to work with children and began working with two women known locally as “The Bible Ladies” with their children’s ministry in 1989. “Shirley Fletcher and Ruth Allen were visiting schools to share Bible stories in 1952. At that time they traveled monthly to about 60 different schools in the area. By 1989, that number had dwindled to 5.” After reading an article about Released Time in Citizen magazine, she decided this could work in Willow Springs. “Reading the article made me realize I had a way to reach schools.”
When she initially approached local churches and school leaders, she was met with skepticism. “So I realized I just had to put in a lot more prayer! By 2004, a bunch of people went with me to meet with the school board. We started with summer school to get our feet wet. Petros had an advertising newspaper run out of what is currently the Bible House. They let us use one room they didn’t need. The next year they offered to sell the house to us. We purchased it and started offering classes in the fall of 2004”
Sixteen years later, she and community volunteers are still teaching about 40 kids in grades K-8. “One year we had 97; that was a record year!” she recalls. Using a Bible overview curriculum, the kids get an overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Elementary students learn biblical concepts, earning little prizes for each one, and at the end of the year they receive an award for their attendance and memorization work. Older children memorize 12 scripture passages, and are rewarded at the end of the year with a trip to Branson to see a live show at the Sight and Sound Theater. All the kids enjoy eating snacks, playing games, singing songs, and having a party at Christmas and Easter. “It’s rewarding to see former students around town and hear them call out, ‘Ms Patty!’ and run up for a hug. I’ll miss all the kids this semester.”