Are you using Whole People of God or Seasons of the Spirit from Wood Lake Books, or any of the Sparkhouse family of curricula (Spark, Whirl, Holy Moly, Connect, Re:form, Echo the Story, Colaborate, or T.B.D.) distributed by Parasource?
You may have recently received news that both Wood Lake Books and Parasource are closing and that this will affect your ability to order curriculum through either of these bodies. In light of this you may have questions about what to do for the fall season of Sunday school – and this may be causing a bit of panic for you and your church. I want to answer a few of those questions now and promise to keep you updated as I learn more along the way.
Wood Lake Books
Let’s start with Wood Lake Books. This Canadian publisher and distributor of Whole People of God and Seasons of the Spirit is closing permanently. Therefore these curricula resources have come to the end and you will not be able to purchase them from any distributor going forward. If you have downloaded and kept hard copies of each of the three lectionary years of these resources you may wish to continue using the resources you already have, but you will not be able to purchase any missing materials for your church to use.
If you are looking for a new option that is as similar to Whole People of God or Seasons of the Spirit as possible, I would like to suggest that Feasting on the Word, published by the Presbyterian Church USA, is as close as you can get to either of these two. Feasting on the Word embraces a similar educational approach and theological position as those from Wood Lake Books. Additionally, Feasting on the Word also follows the Revised Common Lectionary, places a strong emphasis on worship both in the classroom and with the whole congregation, provides excellent worship leader resources, offers curriculum that goes from young children through to adult ages, and does not require numerous extras. You check out Feasting on the Word HERE.
If you would like to consider all of the curriculum options available for your church, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about the wide range of curricula resource options available for your church to consider.
With the closing of Wood Lake Books you will also understand that they are presently trying to clear out their warehouse and are selling all of their other books at significant discount. There are many excellent books available for you to purchase, but I’d like to highlight one in particular. You may have heard me speak or write about Read Wonder Listen: Stories From the Bible for Young Readers by Laura Alary. This is one of the best bible story books for children from ages 7 – 12 that I know of – I use it constantly for children’s stories in church and seasonal family devotion booklets. Check out all that is on offer from Wood Lake Books until the warehouse is empty and while you’re there consider picking up one or more copies of Read Wonder Listen for your church and/or home.
Sparkhouse Resource Options (if you’ve been ordering through Parasource in Canada)
Unlike Whole People of God and Seasons of the Spirit none of the Sparkhouse materials are going away. In this case it is the only the Canadian distributor that is closing. Parasource, which held the contract to distribute all of the Sparkhouse materials within Canada is closing this week and is now no longer taking any orders. Please know that Sparkhouse materials will continue to be published going forward and will be available for you to purchase for your church for the fall.
The big question is where do you order those Sparkhouse curriculum resources from moving forward.
I spoke with a helpful gentleman, Jeff, at Sparkhouse in the United States this afternoon. His quick answer to this question is from Sparkhouse directly. In the past Sparkhouse would not accept Canadian orders because of their contract with Parasource. However, with the closure of Parasource, you may now make your order through Sparkhouse until such time as they find a new distributor in Canada. HERE is the link to their website.
If you were to make an order with Sparkhouse your order would come from the United States and therefore would take a couple of weeks or so to arrive. They will be filling Canadian orders two times per week. Those orders will then be sent to a freight forwarder in Detroit and then cross the border for delivery in Canada. Jeff was unsure (as Sparkhouse is also unsure) what the specifics will be on the costs of shipping as this has all happened very suddenly for them. Jeff also advised, if you can hold off on making an order until late July or early August things might be better worked out and they might even have a Canadian distributor in place by then.
If you have been ordering any of the Sparkhouse curriculum resources other than the children’s take home papers (such as the leaders’ guides) in hard copy, now would be a great time to check out Sparkhouse digital. In addition to getting your resources at a reduced price, there are numerous bonus materials that come along with the digital delivery option. Please email me and I’d be delighted to chat about the benefits of digital materials over hard copies. You can find me at email@example.com.
Spark Story Bible, Spark NRSV, Holy Moly Story Bible, Connect NRSV, Whirl Story Bible, and Whirl NRSV continue to be available for purchase through amazon.ca.
Sadly, each of these closures have come about because of reduced curricula orders in light of our Covid church closures, programme downsizing, and reduced numbers, particularly with children at this time. If you would like to chat about any of these realities and how churches might want to reconnect and rebuild their Sunday schools, youth and adult ministries, I am here to lend a hand, offer advice and help you move into the days ahead with a listening ear and fresh ideas to try out this summer and this fall.
Grace and peace, Tori