As closely as can be determined, Peace Reformed Church, Garner, Iowa, has had a Summer Bible School for their Sunday School children since the beginning of the congregation in 1878.
The earliest history states that the children attended six weeks of Bible School during the summer which culminated in a program of recitations of Psalms, Bible passages, and the Heidelberg Catechism along with the singing of hymns which had been memorized during the six weeks of school. Years later, the length of the Bible School was shortened to four weeks and more recently has been reduced to a three-week period of time ending with a similar program. The objective of the school was, and is, to educate the children in the doctrines of the Reformed faith.
The children’s program is always followed by a congregational picnic which is held in our park across the road from the church. It is complete with a snack stand where sodas, ice cream, and candy bars are “sold” at not‑for‑profit prices. After dinner there are foot races, sack races, a balloon toss, and all of the other “old-fashioned” picnic competitions. It is an enjoyable time for all. The children race for prizes and the adults are entertained by watching.
We believe the program and picnic have been held on the Fourth of July each of the 133 years of our church’s history.
Rev. Harvey Opp, Pastor