And the Survey Says . . .

Sharon Ely Pearson shared the results of her ecumenical curriculum survey on her own blog. I wonder how your ministry matches or challenges these results.

Rows of Sharon

4006230793_9b2742c25e_oAn on-line survey was held on a voluntary based during June 2016 to learn what curricular programs were being used in congregations with children, youth, and adults. The survey was disseminated through e-mail and social media (predominately Facebook groups) and various organizational list-serves (Forma, APCE, CEF,AUCE, and the Christian Education Network of the ELCA). The construction and results of the survey was conducted by the research group of the Church Pension Group, the parent company of Church Publishing Incorporated. The analysis of the data is strictly mine, and I take all responsibility for its interpretation.

Godly Playcontinues to be the most used program with children, with Montessori-type programs used by 36% of churches. The other three types of curriculum were lectionary-based (25%), Bible story based (30%), and workshop rotation model (9%). Most churches use a variety of resources, combining and tweaking them…

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Make Room: A Big Picture View of Lent

When my children were very young I always looked forward to the changing seasons. Inside and outside the church, the turning of the circle brought new colors and sights and smells—plenty of opportunity to explore and create.

My little library of activity books kept us busy. But when it came to Lent I was never satisfied. The kids and I ironed grated crayon on to waxed paper to make stained glass crosses; we made purple paper chains, and hot crossed buns; we even blended and burned our own incense. But something was missing. Continue reading

Stepping Stones in Faith

One Church’s Process to Identify the Basic Milestones on the Journey of Faith…

Over twenty years ago in my early days as Minister of Education at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA we began to talk together about what were the most important concepts to teach our children, youth and adults. We needed a plan and a goal. So we formed a committee! But what a gift this committee became to me and our ministry together. For as we met over more than a year and a half we began to solidify what became the foundational book of our Christian Education at Peachtree – Stepping Stones on the Journey of Faith. I don’t remember the term milestones at that point in time but our work does seem to relate to the emphasis that is now found in many churches in providing milestones for the journey of faith.

As we got started I did some research to see if there was a document in existence that listed what the important concepts of our faith were and at what age they should be taught. I remember having a conversation with Liz McWhorter at the PC(USA) national offices who told me they had always talked about creating something like this but never had that she knew of. She challenged me to create it. So we began our work together at ground zero and it was well worth it.

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Journey from Isolation to Community

Evelyn McMullen shares some thoughts about embracing families where one or more children have special needs. This is a reblog from Columbia Connections

Columbia Connections

By Dr. Evelyn Worth McMullen, Director of Bright Threads Ministries

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of a number of parents whose children have special needs. Stories of pain and stories of joy; stories of brokenness and stories of hope. One recurring theme is isolation. Participation in social settings, even with extended family, is made difficult by the effort of continual caregiving. Parents advocate for their children as they navigate healthcare systems, education options, and even family birthday parties. It’s no wonder they find community among others whose lives have similar challenges. Parents get to know one another at Special Olympics events, in the waiting rooms of clinics and emergency rooms, and at meetings to explain changes in the “med waiver” requirements.So how can we, as the body of Christ, offer community to families who may feel as if they don’t belong?

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Childhood and Religion Journal

Launched in 2010, the Journal of Childhood and Religion is a peer-reviewed, free, online journal that provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars representing a wide range of research fields, interests, and perspectives that relate to children and religion. Such fields include religious studies, biblical studies, the range of human sciences, pastoral psychology, practical theology, pastoral theology, religious education, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, counseling psychology, social work, and cultural studies. JCR publishes articles dealing with childhood, youth, adolescence, and young adulthood, recognizing that these terms operate differently in a variety of cultural contexts. The journal welcomes original scholarship by recognized experts in their respective fields, but also seeks submissions from junior scholars as well as practitioners in work that supports children. Continue reading

Holy Week for Children

Many people around the web seem to be searching for resources to help explain the core stories of our faith, celebrated during Holy Week, to young children. In their inquiries I hear a fear and reluctance to talk to children about death and resurrection. Sometimes we hide this fear in metaphor by talking about dogwood blossoms or butterflies, but metaphors are confusing for most children. We will not scare children by talking about death. It surrounds them in the natural world. They play it dramatically in their games. Many see it within their families and community. The fear is more on the part of adults trapped in the cultural taboo of not discussing death, than it is in the minds and hearts of children. Continue reading