Organizers help keep bible school running

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For the past five days there has been quite a ruckus bellowing from the sanctuary of Sharon Baptist Church. More than 150 children have been filing into the church each morning for some dancing, singing and shouting — uncharacteristic of the usual Baptist behavior.

But this is no Sunday morning — it’s the annual tradition of bible school, a long time tradition spanning nearly three generations.

At the helm of the program is the church’s secretary Paula Dalton, who has been a part of Sharon Baptist’s bible school since 1979, when she was just a high schooler.

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Over the years, she has handled a variety of jobs; this year she is in charge of music. She also works with the church’s Sunday school and preschool programs.

“I do whatever’s left over that other people don’t do,” Dalton said as she sat in the church sanctuary waiting for kids to arrive. “This year is the first year I’ve done music and I like it a lot. It’s upbeat and fun.”

Most of the work Dalton does is behind the scenes. She starts months before the doors of bible school open, ordering supplies, organizing volunteers and trying to pull together the massive undertaking.

The most difficult part of her duty, she said, is finding enough volunteers to work the event. Because it is one of the few bible schools in the area that are held during the day, many people cannot devote their time because of work responsibilities.

The children are shuffled to different activities every 20 minutes, Dalton said, which means she has to coordinate where the youngsters are going, when they need to be there and who’s in charge when they arrive. A pretty tall order when you consider the number of children who attend.

“The scheduling and rotation of the kids is pretty hard,” Dalton said.

But, she said she has never thought of handing over the reigns to anybody else.

“I love working with the kids. It’s a lot of fun and it’s very rewarding,” Dalton said.

The Rev. Steve Harvey said Dalton “is the bible school program.” He said she is “super organized” and always keeps bible school running like a well-oiled machine.

He said bible school is one of the most important outreach programs the church has and it is important to have someone like Dalton behind it.

“You always have to have a spark plug to drive the engine,” he said referring to Dalton’s work.

Sharon Baptist’s bible school will wrap up today and will have an end-of-the-week celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight. It will feature food, inflatable rides and games.