All week the young people attending the Youth Bible School hosted by Charity Ministry in Ephrata, Pennsylvania have been practicing a selection of songs, a capella, to be presented Sunday evening. Over six hundred young people between the ages of sixteen and thirty gathered from across the country for the intensive week of Bible teaching and fellowship.
Many of the Charity folks were raised in Anabaptist groups such as the Amish, Hutterites or Mennonites. Not everyone comes from a conservative background, such as leader Denny Kenaston who is known for his "Godly Home" series of sermons. Whatever their background, the Charity folks emphasize personal Salvation and godly living.
The goal of godly living is reflected in the standards of dress and conduct during Bible school. "Principals" and "Matrons" supervise every aspect of the twelve-hour day, even assigning seats at meals. The sisters wear skirts or dresses and headcoverings and are "double covered" (i.e. two layers over the bust, such as a cape dress or jumper). The brothers aren't to wear jeans. Except for pre-approved courting couples, "all other special boy-girl relationships are prohibited."
Youth Bible School is a refreshing and spiritually invigorating week for hundreds of the young people who attend. The purpose is to encourage young people in their Christian faith. The true impact of the week-long school will be evident next week when the young men and ladies return home, and then over the weeks and years as Biblical teaching is applied to everyday lives.