Category Archives: Christian Education Archive

Faith Formation in a Post(ish) Pandemic World

How are you feeling?

Are you feeling overwhelmed as you consider the reopening of your Sunday school, youth group and/or mid-week programming for the fall?

I hear from many church leaders that they are.

This is absolutely to be expected given all that our churches have weathered over the past two and a half years as we have strived to provide all the programming and care we can during this pandemic.

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Presbyterian Music Camp Celebrates 50 Years of Harmony

Congratulations to Presbyterian Music Camp!

50 years of music ministry is a wonderful reason for celebration.

The Presbyterian Music Camp would love to share with us all a taste of this transformative ministry. And, there’s no better way to do that than through the pictures and sounds of music camp over these last 50 years. Thank you to the Music Camp Board and to Rev. Angus Sutherland, a long-time camper, for sharing this wonderful video with us to enjoy and join in the celebration.

If you would like to learn more about the Presbyterian Music Camp and even join in the fun check out their website HERE.

Video: How To Choose Sunday School Curriculum Resources

If you missed the Zoom gathering on Curriculum Selection last night, were there but would like to review what was presented, or are wanting to think about your Sunday school curriculum options for the fall, here’s a video for you.

In this half hour recording you will hear about a process for narrowing down your curricula options from a curated list of wonderful Sunday school materials.

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Announcing Two Zoom Workshops for Educational Ministry

Thank you to Mike Fox and unsplash.com for this image

Hooray!!!!!

Our churches have reopened and are now beginning to consider their educational ministry options for the fall.

In light of this good news I’ve been getting lots of phone calls and emails asking for help in two specific areas in particular.

The first has to do with Sunday school curriculum.

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Let’s Take A Story Journey

“We’re doing a Story Journey tomorrow to go along with our church’s yard, garden and bake sale. We’re featuring Laura Alary’s book, What Grew in Larry’s Garden. We’re so excited.”

My good friend, Laura Duggin, minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newmarket, Ontario dropped this into a conversation the other day. We weren’t talking about Story Journeys or garden sales at the time, so when Laura burst forth with this comment I needed to know more.

“Tell me all about it”

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A Simple But Significant Tweak For Your Pre-School Sunday School

All Saints Church, Fulham

If there is one thing we’ve learned as Christian educators during this pandemic, it’s that many of our parents were ill-prepared to take on the role of being faith-formers at home when our church buildings closed and our church programmes were shuttered.

And, it wasn’t their fault!

When asked, most parents say that they ought to be the primary influencers of faith with their children, and they are absolutely right. Yet, these same parents also tell us they have no idea how to do this because they haven’t been shown how. Sadly, with our decades-long emphasis on forming faith with children within our church buildings through Sunday school, mid-week groups and summer programming we’ve inadvertently left our parents in the dark on how to talk about and practice faith at home as a family. 

As we look to rebuild our educational programmes this fall we can’t ignore what we’ve learned these last couple of years; we must not cut our parents out of our faith formation plans and in fact we need to make families the centre of our approach going forward.

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Are You Making Plans For Sunday School This Fall?

What will Sunday school look like this fall?

Churches are beginning to talk about restarting in-person Sunday school after a two and a half year hiatus from offering regular children’s programming. Leaning into the hope that our churches will be able to gather safely and with a deep desire to get children back to Sunday school before our youngest generation misses out completely on a Sunday school experience, churches are anxious to do the best they can to restart well this fall. 

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An Interactive Google Slide for Holy Week

There are so many stories to read and hear during Holy Week; from the excitement of the crowds on Palm Sunday to the quiet of the garden where Jesus went to pray, from the shock at Jesus’ arrest to his undeserved death a day later and finally to the extreme joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Each day builds on the previous day revealing God’s deep and grace-filled love for this world.

For younger ones many of the stories we tell during Holy Week can be difficult to understand and even scary. Well-written children’s bible story books help us to share these stories from scripture with children in ways that are more accessible and appropriate for their age. For this reason this interactive Google Slide has been loaded with videos of wonderfully written and told stories for Holy Week. It is here for you to upload onto your churches website or Facebook page so families can visit each day throughout Holy Week to hear these stories together.

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Our Journey Through Lent: A Devotional Booklet and Interactive Slide for Download

Are you looking for a simple Lent devotional resource to share with your families at home? Here’s one that’s free for download that leads participants of all ages through a complete reading of the Gospel of Mark.

The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the gospels and is considered to be the first of the four to be written. There is a sense of urgency in Mark’s gospel to get it all out there as fast as possible so people can quickly hear and know “the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1) With little commentary along the way, Mark leaps immediately into revealing Christ as the Messiah, through a wealth of parables, miracles, conversations and encounters with Jesus. If you have never read a gospel through from start to finish, Mark is a good one to begin with.

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Rest for the Weary

Thank you to Eduardo Flores and unsplash.com for this photograph

I just canceled the Zoom check-ins on Christian education planned for this week. Unfortunately only three people signed up and they were divided between two meetings. This low level of participation where once there was an enthusiastic number for Zoom check-ins seems to be symptomatic of what I’ve been seeing across the board with people’s participation in bible studies, Sunday school and leadership development.

I have found over these last couple of months that our church leaders and our people are more than exhausted from the ongoing stress of just keeping up during this pandemic. With the first year of the pandemic and its church building closures and protocols, leaders had a surge of energy and imagination for thinking about educational ministry in new ways and even began to focus on some things we’d been overlooking in the last number of decades. During the second year we established new ways of doing educational ministry and even began tweaking what we were doing as we got better and better at Zoom Sunday schools, porch meet ups and virtual worship. Moving into this third year I’m beginning to hear from many of our leaders that they just feel flat, without imagination, and are simply doing their very best to stay above water. 

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