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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Here’s one Youth Ministry book you need to add to your Summer Reading List

signedsealeddeliveredAs we move into June, my hope is that you have added the new book from Sharon Ely Pearson, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Theologies of Confirmation for the 21st Century, to your summer reading list.

This book helps meet the need that I sense among Youth Ministers to deeply consider the rite of Confirmation and bring meaning to it through their ministries and the wider faith community. Signed, Sealed, Delivered brings depth, history, thoughtfulness, truth-telling, creativity, and hope to this persistent sacrament that we can’t seem to fully grasp or agree upon. [Read more…]

Back to School Devotions Begin August 4

Bulletin insert

Summer is flying by and ‘Back to School’ is right around the corner.

To help make the transition from summertime to the classroom, d365.org will offer a free devotional resource beginning Thursday, August 4, to facilitate opportunities for students to reflect on their faith journey and the upcoming school year.

Using this resource, thousands of teenagers will read the same scripture, hear the same music and meditate on the same reflection every day at d365.org. Written for teens and tweens, this ecumenical online resource will be a great place to help your students connect their everyday lives with their personal spirituality in virtual community.

A companion curriculum for youth has also been developed and is available for purchase from Passport, Inc.

Want to publish information about the d365 devotions in your newsletter or bulletin? More information, including downloadable bulletin inserts are available:

Information and bulletin inserts in English.

Information and bulletin insert in Spanish.

Join us and experience the power of prayer.

Holy Mischief

I am really looking forward to this particular Christian Formation Conference, Holy Mischief: Christian Formation for What is Next. Timely topic, impressive lineup of speakers, and, of course, a beautiful location.

Holy Mischief

I will be presenting a workshop titled “Five Marks of Mission in Multigenerational Formation.” Here’s the workshop description I submitted to Kanuga:

Never heard of the Five Marks of Mission? Need a simple and solid way to call faithful folks into action? Join us for a lively conversation to learn a new approach to teach about Episcopal identity and faithful action for all age groups, especially youth and adults in mentoring relationships. This workshop will address the Five Marks in the context of the Charter for Lifelong Formation, our Baptismal Covenant, and within multiple Episcopal generations.

I hope to see you there.

Resources for Responding to Yesterday’s Tragedy

Boston MarathonI’m pulling this in from Sharon Ely Pearson’s blog, Rows of Sharon. It is a good quick guide to available resources for responding to yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

I encourage you to join me in prayer for everyone affected by the violence.

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Again, churches, schools and families are looking for resources to respond to another senseless act of violence. I have shared many on this site as well asBuilding Faith before.

The National Association of Episcopal Schools has just released this composite of resources again that is worth bookmarking: Responding to the Boston Bombing: Resources for Schools.

Links to a few of my previous postings: