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Africa-Themed Vacation Bible School Plan Racially-Insensitive?

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Editor’s note (06/11/219): Group Publishing, Inc. has deleted its initial public statement and released an update to its controversial “Roar” Vacation Bible Study. Read about it here.

Editor’s note (06/09/2019): Group Publishing, Inc. has published a response to concerns about its “Roar” VBS curriculum. Read it here.

A Christian company that claims it is “trusted by thousands of churches,” has been criticized for its 2019 Vacation Bible School lessons that require elementary-age students to pretend they are slaves and mimic an African dialect with “clicks.” The Vacation Bible School curriculum also refers to Africa as a country.

“As I have been prepping for each day of @GroupVBS ‘Roar’ this week, I have been *horrified* to find: 1) having children play at being slaves (while being yelled at and told that they’re worthless slaves); 2) a reference to Africa as a *country*; [and] 3) leaders and kids asked to mimic and mock a click language by making up ‘new names’ in their imitated language,” Leanne Masters tweeted on June 6. Masters is a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I know that after this, I’m going to be having my church take a hard and critical look at ordering from this company in the future,” Masters added.

“Also, for the record, I edited the heck out of it for my church. These are lessons we cannot be teaching our children,” the PC(USA) pastor wrote.

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Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menzie a religion reporter whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. Nicola is the Managing Editor at You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at)

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