Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr.
Vacation Bible School
Before coming to South Norfolk Baptist, Rev. Hughes pastored the Broad Creek Village Baptist Church.  Here is an article that appeared in the newspaper about the VBS he sponsored:
Scenes from one of the VBS Joint Worship Services while Rev. Hughes was pastor at South Norfolk:
Mrs. Mary Benton, a South Norfolk school teacher, served as the Principal of the Vacation Bible School for many, many years:

Vacation Bible School (VBS) was a high point for the children and youth at South Norfolk Baptist Church, for two weeks every June after school let out. I can still see in my "mind's eye," Mrs. Mary Benton, (who taught in the South Norfolk Schools) as principal of the Bible school, and Mrs. Betty LeBlanc, pianist, for many years. Dad always witnessed to the older children and youth on the last day's Joint Worship Service. It was a very good presentation.

VBS was a great experience. One oddity that occurred for many years, was it rained on Parent's Night of the last day! It usually cleared up while the Joint Worship Service was in progress, where each class presented music or recitation from memory.

During the two weeks, boys and girls learned many things about the mission work of Southern Baptists, learned Bible verses, music, and studied the Bible. We were also involved in

arts and crafts handwork which was mentored by very fine men and women in the church. While attending "Bible Week" at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly one summer, Dad a familiar face on the front porch of the Spillman Auditorium.  It was there that he introduced me to Homer Grice, the man who developed the idea of Vacation Bible School. (From 1913 to 1915, Rev. Grice was professor of English literature at Ouachita Baptist College. Grice was pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington, Georgia, 1915 –1924, where he conducted some of the first Vacation Bible Schools. In September, 1924, Grice became the first secretary of the Vacation Bible School Department at the Sunday School Board, Nashville, where he served until his retirement, January 1, 1953. He promoted VBS for Southern Baptists, edited all VBS materials, and wrote about 45 children's books. He died May 17, 1974.)

Active promotion of Vacation Bible Schools by Southern Baptists came in
September of 1924 when Homer Grice was elected as secretary of the new Daily
Vacation Bible School Department. Grice developed a course of study,
established the plan of operation, formulated methods of procedure, devised
means for training a church and denominational leadership and developed a
program of promotion.

The number of schools grew from 300 in 1925 to 1,044 in 1935. In 1938 Sibley
Curtis Burnett was elected as associate in the Vacation Bible School section to
aid in promotion of schools and in the training of workers over the Convention.
In 1953, Charles Franklin Treadway succeeded Grice as editor of the Vacation
Bible School materials. By 1979 the total number of all VBS projects was 35,681
with a total enrollment of 3,197,517. These projects reported $1,412,316 total
mission offering and 55,680 professions of faith.

As presently promoted among Southern Baptists, Vacation Bible Schools are
conducted under local church direction during the summer for a one or two week period for ages 3 to 16. The program focuses on Bible study, worship,
recreation, and crafts. The Projects Promotion Section, Sunday School
Department, Sunday School Board, is responsible for the general promotion of
VBS work.

Dr. Homer Lamar Grice:


Grice, Homer Lamar was born on April 12, 1883 in Citra, Florida, United States. Son of Albert Gallatin and Sarah Lee (Bennett) Grice.


Bachelor of Arts, Mercer U., Macon, Georgia, 1912, Doctor of Divinity, 1921. A.M., George Peabody College for Teachers, 1929. Graduate study Boston University School of Religious Edition and Social Service, and Vanderbilt University School of Religion.


Teacher public schools, Alabama, 1899-1901. In railway mail service, United States Government, 1902-1909. Professor of English, Ouachita College, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, 1913-1915.

Ordained Baptist ministry, 1913. Pastor First Church, Washington, Georgia, 1915-1924. Secretary in charge Vacation Bible School Department, editor Vacation Bible School text books of Baptist Sunday School Board, since 1924, also editor New Graded Intermediate S.S. Lessons and lesson writer for 14-year and 15-year pupils, 1930-1933.


  • Other Work
    • Author: The Vacation Bible School Guide, 1926. V.B.S. Intermediate—Book Three—Studies in Acts, 1927. Intermediate—Book One—Studies in Mark, 1928.The Vacation Bible School Joint Service Book, Vols. 1-12, 1938-1949


Member Phi Delta Kappa.


Married Ethel Harrison, August 21, 1912.


Albert Gallatin Grice


Sarah Lee (Bennett) Grice


Ethel Harrison


About the Southern Baptist LifeWay Vacation Bible School

LifeWay’s Commitment to VBS
Vacation Bible School is the premiere outreach event of the year for many churches. Few other events offer the potential to reach out to children and adults in your community the way VBS can. It offers a powerful and unique opportunity for sharing Jesus Christ and positively impacting the kingdom of God.

We take that potential very seriously. LifeWay is committed to offering high-quality, affordable VBS resources that share the Good News of Jesus accurately with all ages. Our philosophy is that VBS must, at the very least, meet these criteria:

  • All resources must be Bible-based and biblically accurate.
  • The learning and activity features must be appropriate for the age group they are designed to reach.
  • Vacation Bible School should be fun, yet grounded in reality.

Our resources come from and are true to the Word of God. We don’t represent Bible characters as cartoons or inanimate objects. We want children to understand the reality of the Bible through an entertaining, theme-oriented learning approach. Our beliefs and commitments are outlined in greater detail in the Purpose Statement and Principles we have adopted.

History of VBS
Vacation Bible School was the idea of Mrs. Walter Aylett Hawes, a doctor’s wife. Her goal was to get children off the streets of New York. In 1898 and 1899 Mrs. Hawes rented a beer hall in New York’s East Side to conduct her Everyday Bible School. In 1900 Mrs. Hawes’ pastor, Howard Lee Jones, insisted that the Bible school move to the church building, Epiphany Baptist Church. After two weeks it became clear that children from the East Side would not attend at the church, so Mrs. Hawes moved the school back to a site near the beer hall.

In the early 20th century, Vacation Bible School became a growing trend. While Mrs. Hawes was indeed a Baptist, Vacation Bible School was a non-denominational event in those early years. In 1922 the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention assigned the work of VBS to the Sunday School Administration Department. In 1924 a Vacation Bible School Department was formed and Homer Grice, a pastor from Georgia, became its first director. At that point VBS was usually a 4-week event!

Here is a copy of the "Daily Vacation Bible School Guide" as written in 1926, by Homer L. Grice:

Vacation Bible School Purpose and Principles
VBS is one of the most strategic outreach tools for the church and includes age-appropriate evangelism emphasis.

VBS is a flagship church event, uniquely inviting and exciting for everyone involved. The event belongs to the local church and must be flexible enough for individual church needs.

VBS is centered on a theme that permeates content, methodology, and the learning environment, creating an experience totally distinct from Sunday school. The theme must be appealing to children. A sub-theme may be used to explain content or the meaning of the theme.

VBS provides sound, relevant Bible study that enables people to experience and respond to the gospel message in ways that are appropriate for them. Everything that happens during a day of Vacation Bible School grows out of the biblical content and emphasis of that day. Vacation Bible School leads preschoolers, children, youth, and adults to study the same biblical content, when appropriate.

VBS includes schedules that help older preschoolers and children rotate through varied learning experiences with a variety of Christian leaders. It also offers suggestions for a self-contained classroom option.

VBS enlists teachers of preschoolers and children to lead certain functions based on their abilities, interests, and spiritual gifts. This simplifies worker preparation for many teachers who repeat their teaching assignments with different groups of children.

VBS requires user-friendly, easy-to-prepare, and easy-to-use materials that help teachers lead effective, meaningful learning experiences and establish relationships with learners.

The primary elements of Vacation Bible School are Bible study, worship, crafts, music, missions, recreation, and snacks. Each age group may adapt these elements.

VBS is an entry point to church and Christianity for many people, so it must be comfortable, enjoyable, and appealing. Vacation Bible School gives the church the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with these people.

Vacation Bible School must provide challenging experiences that continue to stimulate spiritual growth for churched people.

One of the unique highlights of FBC of Washington, Georgia history is the role of Dr. Homer L. Grice in the formation of Vacation Bible School. Here is a video tribute from our 2012 Homecoming Celebration featuring actual footage from the 1924 Vacation Bible School held in Washington, Georgia along with special commentary by Mrs. Mabel Johnson who attended VBS under the leadership of Dr. Grice.  (Courtesy of the FBC website).