By Judy Brandon: CNJ religion columnist
Mrs. Kitten Skarda played a significant part in my growing up years in church. She led our sword drill team for years and then taught children using the flannel board.
Learning Bible stories with the flannel board was a huge part of my childhood spiritual experience. Flannel boards went right along with Bible school and Sunday school and Mrs. Skarda was one of my favorite childhood teachers.
Mrs. Skarda would bring her flannel board to class and her characters in a box. As Mrs. Skarda would teach, she placed the characters in such an order that at the end of the Bible lesson, the whole story would come together.
Through my flannel board years I walked with Moses on dry ground and huddled with Daniel in the lions den. I witnessed a crippled man being let down from an opening in the roof of a house so he could see Jesus and be healed. I viewed Jesus walking on the water toward the terrified disciples who were in a dangerous storm. I saw Jesus beckon the disciples to come and eat the breakfast on the seashore. I witnessed a host of characters through flannel board: Lydia at the prayer meeting, Paul sewing on his tents, Joshua and the spies and the woman at the well. Mrs. Skarda and her flannel board helped me as a child to make some sense of the great events of the Bible, events that I as a child could not picture in my mind. But with the flannel board, those events came alive.
So is it any wonder that the flannel board is still a part of my life? About eight years ago, I had a little Bible school in my backyard. I did not use fancy media (I have none!)