SYCAMORE – The theme for this year’s Vacation Bible School at the Federated Church of Sycamore came from the youngest member of the church’s board of religious education – 12-year-old Max Baird.
Max suggested giving the one-night Bible school, from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, a Harry Potter theme.
“VBS can give kids as much expousre to the faith as a whole year of going to Sunday school,” said Amy Johnson, youth minister of the church.
Though the book’s characters may use magic to move objects, Johnson said they can’t use it to solve problems. “It’s your choices that determine who you are,” she said. “I think that’s why the books are so wildly popular. They hit on the deeper themes of what life is all about.”
The Bible school is based on the first novel in the series, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” There are eight half-hour Hogwarts-style classes, and up to 40 students 5 and older will be divided into two classes before a peanut-butter-and-jelly dinner and two classes after.
Although it had sold 450 million copies worldwide as of 2011, the Harry Potter series has generated controversy among some churches that fear it promotes witchcraft, which Johnson denies.
“This is the best literature of the day, without a doubt,” she said of the series, which has been made into eight movies. “I think people who actually read it, know this is not about hocus pocus. It’s about faith and love and loyalty, all the values we want in our kids, the very stuff we’ve been trying to teach them forever. That’s why we are excited about it.”
“Most of the people in church approve of Harry Potter,” Max said. “When we go home from this, you’re not going to start practicing magic.”
Harry Potter Vacation Bible School
5-10 p.m. Aug. 9
Federated Church, 612 W. State St.
$5; for children 5 and older. Registration required. Call 815-895-2706 for information.