Delegates to Synod 2016 (the Christian Reformed Church’s annual general assembly) expressed the need for new materials for Sunday school and catechism. But that won’t happen soon. “When [a previous] synod decided to discontinue Faith Alive [publishing], I don’t believe they realized they had approved ending the creation of new CRC Sunday school curriculum,” said Syd Hielema, team leader of the CRC’s Faith Formation Ministries (FFM).
While the need for new curriculum is under review, FFM has in the meantime released new intergenerational resources for churches. “These materials didn’t come directly from the request at synod,” explained Hielema, “but they come from the same source, the same root so to speak, which is to respond to what congregations are asking for.”
“Building Blocks of Faith” and “Faith Storytelling” toolkits are intended to help congregations facilitate conversations and community. They aren’t programming materials. Rather, they offer collections of resources focused on a key concept or theme.
“These themes came out of conversations we’ve had at workshops, listening to congregation needs,” said Hielema.
“Building Blocks of Faith” looks at faith formation, identifying four areas of building and growing in faith. “Faith Storytelling” looks at the importance and development of a storytelling culture in churches. “Many people have a hard time sharing their stories. This toolkit offers a wide variety of ideas and strategies to get there,” explained Hielema.
The free toolkits are web-based and can be adapted to suit each church. They include worship and sermon resources, devotions for church and home, small group discussion guides, and children's resources. Hielema said resources will be added to the toolkits over time, and more toolkits are planned.
And what about new curriculum? Hielema said the question regarding future Sunday school curriculum will be presented to Synod 2017 unless the denomination’s board of trustees makes a decision before that.
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