New Resources for a New Program Year

Welcome to guest blogger, Sharon Ely Pearson. Sharon is an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI). Church Publishing, Morehouse Publishing, and Morehouse Education Resources are imprints of CPI. 

Curricula, Books and Resources Available

The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, and our programs have resumed for a new year.

I remember during my time as a child and teen that the coming of a new school year meant a fresh start and either a new lunchbox, pair of shoes, or backpack, plus new pencils and a precious box of never-used crayons. As a teacher and then Christian educator, autumn meant welcoming back children and youth who took a ‘church hiatus’ over the summer. It was also a time when I eagerly opened the boxes that the postal service or UPS dropped off at my office. It was like Christmas to see and sort through the new curricula, books, and resources.

This Fall there are plenty of resources to make if feel like Christmas instead of Halloween – all treats, without the tricks:

For children and those who minister with them

Let Us Pray full rgbLet Us Pray: A Little Kid’s Guide to the Eucharist by Jennie Turrell is a colorful little book that will fit in the hands (and your church pews) of your smallest members to help them following along with worship. A great baptism gift too! (Morehouse Publishing, 2014)

The Good Shepherd by Jerome Berryman with illustrations by Lois Mitchell shares this foundational story in a picture book. For Godly Play classrooms and beyond. (Morehouse Education Resources, 2014)

The Great Family by Jerome Berryman with illustrations by Lois Mitchell offers this favorite Godly Play story of Abraham and Sarah journeying to a new land in picture book form. For Godly Play classrooms and beyond. (Morehouse Education Resources, 2014)

Building Faith Brick by Brick: An Imaginative Way to Explore the Bible with Children by Emily Slichter Given offers a way to engage children in learning bible stories using Legos.™ Lesson plans for — Old Testament and — New Testament stories are offered. You know you love to play with these plastic bricks just as much as the kids do! (Morehouse Education Resources, 2014)

The Rite Place: Kids Do Church! Adults Do, Too! by Shawn Schreiner and Dennis Northway offers a theology of why children need to be included in worship and then how to go about fully including them. Liturgies for every season of the church year is offered, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Baptism and a Celebration of a Life, as well as a Song Book full of simple songs that are easy to teach. (Morehouse Publishing, November 2014)

For youth and those who minister with them

Marked for Mission: Youth in Action edited by Bronwyn Clark Skov and Sharon Ely Pearson features the voices of youth and young adults from around the Episcopal Church sharing stories about our Baptismal Covenant, the Five Marks of Mission, and the importance of lifelong learning. These prayers, reflections, and background information offer youth core best practices in ministry with our young people in the Episcopal Church. It includes The Lord’s Prayer in 10 languages! (Morehouse Publishing, 2014)

My Faith, My Life: A Teen’s Guide to the Episcopal Church, revised edition by Jenifer Gamber is an update of her popular book for teen’s that is a core resource for formation and confirmation preparation. New features include reflection questions, ideas for digging deeper, and conversation starters plus the Five Marks of Mission and current events in the Episcopal Church. Check out her website www.myfaithmylife.com for even more resources! (Morehouse Publishing, 2014)

My Faith, My Life: A Teen’s Guide to the Episcopal Church – Leader’s Guide by Jenifer Gamber makes her popular book (above) accessible to the youth leader or teacher who desires to use the book as a curriculum. Lesson plans, activities, and a multitude of resources make this something that should be on every youth leader’s bookshelf. (Morehouse Publishing, 2014)

For adults

Embracing Forgiveness: What It Is and What It Isn’t with Barbara Crafton is the latest of the popular small group “Embracing” series. This five-session DVD-study covers (1) Seventy Times Seven: Really? (2) You Have Heard It Said (3) Chipping Away (4) How to Start and (5) Why Forgive?

A People Called Episcopalians, revised edition by John Westerhoff with Sharon Ely Pearson is an updated little booklet about the Episcopal Church that makes it perfect to put in the hands of newcomers, inquirer’s, and anyone who might want to know the essence of what it means to be an Episcopalian (as opposed to a Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, or United Church of Christ member).

The Episcopal Way by Stephanie Spellers and Eric H.F. Law is the first volume in the Church’s Teachings for a New World Series. Contemporary and practical, this little book offers chapter discussion questions about who we are as Episcopalians in the 21st century.

For Christian Formation leaders

Your Living Compass: Living Well in Thought, Word, and DeedYour Living Compass by Scott Stoner invites readers to engage in a 10-week, self-guided wellness retreat, consisting of daily ten-minute readings, pluse questions that guide the user to make small, meaningful action steps. (Morehouse Publishing, 2014)

Daily Prayer for All Seasons (in English and in Spanish) compiled by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers daily prayers in contemporary language that can be used throughout the seasons of the church year and throughout the day (morning, noon, evening, and nighttime). (Church Publishing, 2014)

Got a idea for a new resource or suggestion? Contact Sharon at spearson@cpg.org or share in the comments.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

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Today’s guest blogger is Teri Valente, Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware & Program Director for Camp Arrowhead. Teri blogs at Youth Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware.

I’m not sure I could be more excited for The Youth Cartel‘s the 2013 digital edition of Every Picture Tells a Story.

Quite Simply – it’s a collection of 48 evocative black and white images and a Leader’s Guide with 18 prompts for reflection, journaling, processing or discussion springboards.

The first edition was published in 2002 and has been out of print – a very sad story for anyone who lost an image or their original leader guide years ago… :/ oops.

I know tons of youth leaders who used to (and sometimes still) have file folders full of clipped magazine images and collected images from online…. I’m claiming that this is new. It’s not.

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BUT – for those who don’t find leading contemplative exercises doesn’t come naturally it sets you up well to succeed (with or without really trying).

Reasons I Love It:

It’s so easy to use. The images are all the same size. The prompts are varied and simple to follow. It sets the thermostat for your discussion. It’s easy to plan to use and easy to use in a pinch when your other plan falls through.

The first edition helped me lead a large group in a contemplative exercise as I was learning to be more contemplative myself. It’s one of my standard experiential prayer stations and a rich go-to activity to help facilitate reflection and introspection.

The artwork is simple, yet complex, beautiful and weird. Your students (and leaders) will see things in a picture that no one else did – and in their explanations you will come to get so much more of who that person is. It’s like the exercises trick them into being far more honest than usual. 🙂

It’s digital. You can make as many copies as your heart desires in whatever size you want. If another leader is going to “borrow” this resource you never have to worry again about getting your copy back. And it means that as soon as you purchase it – you can immediately download it.

AND!!! For a limited time – when you purchase the new edition, they’re throwing in the old one as a free gift. That’s 96 images!!

Check out a sample.

What Curricula Do You Use?

My colleague, Ruth-Ann Collins, and I are simultaneously reprinting this blog post by Sharon Ely Pearson, Christian Formation Specialist at Church Publishing, in hopes that you will take a minute to participate in her survey on curricula in use throughout the church.

As I have conversations with Formation Leaders across the church I am aware that the subject of timely, relevant curriculum is an ongoing conversation and the need for resources is ever expanding.

Please take a moment to read her blog post and participate in the survey.

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by Sharon Ely Pearson

surveycheckmark-300x225Morehouse Education Resources (MER), a division of Church Publishing Incorporated seeks to serve the church and its Christian formation needs in providing the best resources and programs to assist churches in supporting lifelong learning in the Christian faith. Whether it is regarding children, youth or adults, MER strives to listen to the needs of the church to offer curricula and program resources for building faithful communities that empower their members to live their faith out in the world.

In addition to continual conversation with Christian educators across the church, I find it helpful to survey the broadest audience possible every 18-months or so to discover what resources are being used in congregations. I am always interested in what individuals who oversee ministry with children, youth or adults would like to published that they cannot find. It helps in our resource development as we seek to bring resources to the church where the need is greatest.

Take the survey here. 

Anyone who is involved in Christian education in a congregation is invited to take the survey. Participants will be asked to choose what curricular resources they are currently using with each age group from a large menu of programs across the denominational spectrum. Respondents will also have an opportunity to share what they wish was published for their use and will subsequently receive survey results. The survey should take no longer than ten minutes to complete.

The last Curriculum Survey was taken in October 2010. With those results, new resources were brought to the drawing board. For example, the popular “Embracing series” was developed and published after many respondents shared the need for easy-to-use adult studies that were DVD based from a mainline denominational perspective. “Skiturgies” was also developed, a resource bank of pageants, plays, rites and rituals that local congregations wrote and performed from a desire of those who had written original material to be able to share their productions with a wider audience, inexpensively and easily accessed.

Take the survey here. 

The survey will close on May 1, 2013. Results will show nationally, regionally and denominationally the curricula, which is being used most frequently with each age group as well as the perceived needs of the church. With the face of curriculum changing in our digital world, it is expected that there will be major shifts in responses from 2010. Survey results will offer comparisons and learnings, with results being published on the Church Publishing website as well as my monthly newsletter of over 7,000 subscribers, “Living IN-Formation,” in early June 2013.

If you’re looking for new curriculum, check out the Curriculum Pages in Building Faith’s Resource Room where new charts overviewing children, youth and adult curriculum has just been updated.

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