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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Available Grant Funding To Support New and Creative Ministry

Funding is currently available through three grant programs offered through The Episcopal Church. Each is listed below with links for more information. Be sure to check the deadlines for application submission – they range from the end of this month to November 1.

2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants

Applications are now accepted for the 2015 Roanridge Trust Award Grants, awarded annually for creative models for leadership development, training and ministries in small towns and rural communities across the Episcopal Church. Dioceses, congregations and Episcopal related organizations and institutions are invited to apply for the grants which generally range from $5000 to $20,000. The application deadline is October 31. Read more.

2014 Jubilee Ministry grant applications

One Program Development Grant, up to $35,000, will be awarded to a new or existing ministry that can demonstrate a new or re-visioned strategy and methodology to make an impact both locally and beyond itself. Ten to 20 Program Impact Grants, ranging from $750 to $1,500 each, will be awarded to initiatives of Jubilee Centers that make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of those in need. Deadline is Tuesday, September 30. Read more.

Episcopal Church Constable Fund Grants

The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Episcopal Church General Convention/Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS). Recent Constable Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $200,000. Applications can be submitted by: (1) a programmatic office of the DFMS; (2) one of the General Convention CCABs (committee/commission/agency/board); or (3) one of the Provinces of the Episcopal Church. The deadline for applications is November 1. Read more.

Good luck and happy grant writing!

Discerning Christian Vocation with Youth Across Europe

Mission MondaysRecently I had the pleasure of joining the youth ministers and young people of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe for their annual youth events. For many years they have been convening teenagers for Youth Across Europe (YAE) during Ascension week. Recently they added a program for 10-13 year olds called Juniors Across Europe (JAE). Both of these events included youth and adults from several of the parishes and missions in Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium. [Read more…]

Bring Back Our Girls

ens_050814_bringBackOurGirls1-500x500I give thanks for my friend and colleague, Roger Hutchison, from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

As I was feeling hopeless and anxious about the situation with the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria, Roger’s reflection came across social media. He gave eloquent, passionate words to the roiling in my gut and the ache in my own heart. If you haven’t already read his reflection, I encourage you to do so.

It begins like this:

We are in the fifty days of Easter, but I am having a hard time saying “Alleluia.”

We learned today that eight more girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria.  This adds to the 276 that we are aware of. Faces of grief, anger, and fear cover the screens of our televisions, computers, smart phones and Twitter feeds.  The angry reaction is palpable.

The social media world is buzzing.  Bring back our girls.

#BringBackOurGirls

Read Roger’s full post, We need an alleluia, on the Episcopal News Service blog.

Just minutes ago, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued the following statement:

The Episcopal Church is horrified at the violence perpetrated against innocent schoolgirls in Nigeria, and the willingness of those who should be addressing this to look the other way. The unfortunate truth is that girls and women are still deemed dispensable in much of the world, or at least of lesser value than members of the other sex. The necessary response is education – of girls and boys, in equal numbers and to an equal degree, that all might take their rightful place in societies that serve all their citizens with equal respect and dignity. I pray that all Episcopalians, and all people of faith and good will, will pray and plead with their political leaders to find the kidnappers, liberate these girls, and restore them to the safety they deserve. May God have mercy on us all.

I invite you to join me – and Episcopalians across the globe – in prayer. And I encourage you to take whatever appropriate action available to you. I have signed an online petition and my praying will continue until the situation is resolved. I will also hold my children and godchildren and nieces and nephews just a little closer.

Thank you, Roger, for giving us the words we need when we need them.

#BringBackOurGirls

Faithfully,

Bronwyn

Commissioning Youth to Enter the Mission Field

Mission MondaysIn just a month or two, many youth programs will be embarking on mission experiences throughout The Episcopal Church.

For each Mission Team, an important element of preparation is commissioning from the wider community. Both for the missionaries and for the sending congregation, it is important to remember that this team is being sent to represent the community. Therefore, they need to be prayerfully and intentionally commissioned by the community to go forth in their name. [Read more…]