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Conference offers resources to help churches choose curricula

By Lorna Kropp - Partner in Education

Between March and June is the time for a church to ask the question: Are the resources we are currently using still meeting our needs or should we explore other resources?

Lorna Kropp
Lorna Kropp

First, note the term “resources” instead of “curriculum.” Purchasing materials for classes of children and youth and adults is one part of curriculum.  The people who lead and engage others those materials are part of the curriculum, too, as are the setting, the excitement and the support from the whole church. Therefore purchasing resources that fit and resonate with teachers, students, parents, and pastor is important.

There are both people and web references available to help churches with decision-making. The conference has three Partners in Education who can consult with church decision-makers. They can answer questions in person, on the phone or by email. They meet with church planning committees. They help find samples of curriculum resources to read and review. They can point a committee to questions to ask about resources.

Gale Peterson, Kirkland UCC Christian educator, has used and led workshops on “Seasons of the Spirit.” She has served many years with the Conference Educational Ministries, particularly camping ministries. 

Donald Schmidt, pastor at Admiral Congregational UCC in Seattle, has led workshops on “Seasons of the Spirit” and is also on the editorial team for “Faith Practices.”

Lorna Kropp, member at Westminster Congregational UCC in Spokane, Lorna has been a Partner in on the East Side for many years. She has experience with the various curricula as an educator, and teacher librarian.


Story of lost things in inter-generational class at Westminster Congregational UCC in Spokane

The three options the UCC promotes are:

 • Seasons of the Spirit is organized around the lectionary. This can be a good choice for churches whose pastor uses the lectionary in planning weekly worship and preaching.  There are resources in the SOS that can enable a whole church education program to be coordinated. (

 • “Gather Round” is a curriculum organized around significant Bible stories, seasonally arranged. For churches whose worship is more theme or issue related, focusing on important and whole stories of people and events may be a better fit. (

 • “Faith Practices” is a set of resources organized around practicing and living Christian faith. This year, four practices have been written and published, and an additional four will be written in 2011-2012, for a total of eight choices.

The resources for each faith practice contain learning and reflection activities, Scripture and worship resources for six to nine weeks, for retreats or other settings. They provide flexibility for congregational planning. ( 

The 2010-11 practices are on forming community: giving and receiving hospitality; being stewards and living stewardship; centering life: keeping sabbath, and living creatively: playing and living joyfully.

The website has several articles to download to help a planning committee. They are on the Partners in Education page under the heading, “ Planning the Church’s Education Ministry” (

One I find helpful is “Questions to ask when selecting curriculum and resources.”

Five groups of questions help a committee read and compare the resources include: What image of God is portrayed? How is Jesus pictured? What concepts about the Bible are assumed? How does the curriculum help students think and act upon the concepts of love, acceptance, forgiveness, inclusiveness, faithfulness and reconciliation?

The UCC education resources page also lists other options to review.

One is the new children’s curriculum from “The Center for Progressive Christianity” called, “A Joyful Path.” (

The eight points of Progressive Christianity is an interesting adult discussion resource as well. (

Taking advantage of the resources the conference has to help churches plan a vital program of learning, worship and service helps churches focus energy for decision making.

The PNC’s three Partners in Education – Gale Peterson, Lorna Kropp and Don Schmidt – are trained by the national UCC to help local churches with their education ministries. 

They inform persons in  teaching ministries of resources published by and curricula developed by the UCC.  They offer workshops to help churches plan and provide effective education programs.


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © April 2011





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