PYC 2017: Bible Bowl Tests Campers
Campers show off their biblical knowledge by hitting a big red button.

The theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey filled Armstrong Auditorium as campers and staff streamed into the theater, signaling that this year’s Bible Bowl was about to begin. “How well do our campers know their Bibles?” asked Bible Bowl host Mark Jenkins. “Camp lectures, sermonettes, Bible studies, sermons, registration numbers on the sides of planes—everything is fair game.”

The first four dorms took to the stage, beginning with a white board round. The question would be asked, and the whole dorm would confer before revealing their answers on the white board. Following that, three campers at a time would sit at the table to answer questions in the buzzer round. However, since there are ten in a dorm, the last group at the table would have four members.

One of the questions asked was about how many times Christ said we should forgive our brother. The answer was seventy times seven, but Mr. Jenkins added, “Unless you are reading Moffatt in which case it is seventy times seven per day!”

Jude of 1B was quick on the draw, and it seemed no one could hit the big red button faster to get their answers. Selah of 3G seemed barely able to contain herself every time she hit the button, bouncing in her seat with a wide grin as she would answer.

As the dorms rotated, music would play to keep things interesting. At one point, Mr. Jenkins played the opening song of The Lion King, “Circle of Life,” causing the campers backstage to burst into smiles as they moved out onto the stage.

A new buzzer system and scoreboard, programmed by headquarters employee Dan Arnfield who ran the system, was also introduced. The individual scores, displayed on the monitor wall used for the Church’s television productions, matched the camper’s shirt colors. Mr. Jenkins commented that he hoped the new scoreboard could be used for the Trumpet Daily—perhaps in a new feature called the Trumpet Daily Double. Sometimes Mr. Jenkins jokes came with “a warning from the Turgeon General.”

Once all of the dorms had gone, the four dorms with the highest scores returned to the stage. Dorms 1B, 2B, 6B, and the lone girl dorm 3G returned for the finals, the hardest round of questions yet.

Back and forth, the buzzers sounded across the stage and question after question was answered, making for one of the closest Bible Bowl finales I have seen in a while. All four dorms seemed to be neck and neck. “And now the question you’ve been waiting for all night,” Mr. Jenkins said for the last question of the night. “What is the registration number on the side of the Philadelphia Church of God’s airplane?” Sam from 2B put the smack down on that button and answered with confidence. “N127RR.”

It wasn’t quite enough. In the handful of final questions, 1B had pulled ahead, winning the game before it was fully ended, with 3G coming in at a close second. The evening finished with fellowship on the front steps of the Auditorium.