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Getting faith formation and worship resources into people’s homes

Theology, Formation & Evangelism’s ‘Scattered Church’ project features three worship helps

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Theology, Formation & Evangelism’s new “Scattered Church” project provides theological, worship and formation resources to help congregational and worshiping community leaders reimagine how they gather as the church. (iStock photo)

LOUISVILLE — Church and worshiping community leaders, are you looking for ways to support families in faith formation at home during a time of pandemic? Would you like your community to have access to a children’s Bible, hymnal and prayers in their home?

If you answered yes, then Theology, Formation & Evangelism in the Presbyterian Mission Agency can help.  Thanks to an endowment made possible by generous donors and a partnership with the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and the PC(USA) store, TFE is making it possible for churches and worshiping communities to purchase a limited number of Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible, the Glory to God Hymnal and the Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer.

All three books have engaging resources to help parents, children and families in their faith formation activities and worship at home.

Growing in God’s Love includes 150 popular Bible stories organized by 13 themes including Strong Women and Men; Listening for God; Parables; Healing and Miracles; and more. It also features:

  • Diverse work from more than 20 artists appealing to a variety of ages and learning styles.
  • Three reflection questions — Hear, See, Act — are included at the end of every story to help children ponder the message they’ve learned.
  • New companion curriculum for Sunday school classrooms that has a new in-home component.

Stephanie Fritz, associate coordinator for the Office of Christian Formation, which is housed within TFE ministries, said those features make Growing in God’s Love perfect for the many leaders she’s heard from who need resources to equip parents in their faith formation activities at home.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help churches get these Bibles into people’s homes,” she said.

The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, associate for Worship in the PC(USA)’s Office of Theology and Worship, is excited about this opportunity to bring vital worship resources like the BCW Daily Prayer Edition and the Presbyterian hymnal Glory to God into each person’s home. He said the 2018 BCW Daily Prayer Edition was designed to be a convenient and accessible resource for prayer in every home. With that in mind, the 2018 edition has:

  • Brief services of prayer at different times of the day, arranged in chronological order throughout the week.
  • Additional resources for the seasons and festivals of the Christian year.
  • Chanting or responsive reading for all 150 psalms, with short prayers related to the themes of each one.
  • A section of “ancient and classic” prayers and litanies, enabling users to pray with church leaders throughout the past 2,000 years.
  • Prayers for various occasions including preparation for worship, baptismal discipleship, ministry in the church, mission in the world, human life and vocation, marriage and family, healing and wholeness, and death and resurrection. A house blessing is also provided.
  • Two daily lectionaries: a three-year set of daily readings related to the Revised Common Lectionary and an expanded version of the two-year daily lectionary.

And the 2013 hymnal Glory to God features:

  • 853 hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs in a wide range of musical styles, including classic, contemporary, gospel, spiritual, folk and global songs.
  • Theological organization based on “God’s mighty acts” and “Our response to God,” with “The church at worship” in the center.
  • Hymns ordered according to the biblical chronology of salvation history, so users can sing through the story of the faith.
  • Brief orders of worship for the Lord’s Day, baptism and reaffirmation, and daily prayers are provided in the front of the hymnal.

Theology, Formation & Evangelism is helping churches and worshiping communities get Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible; the Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer; and the Glory to God Hymnal to people who are doing faith formation at home.

“With these three books in hand,” Gambrell said, “Presbyterians will be equipped to learn and share God’s story, sing new and old songs to the Lord and pray with the whole body of Christ.”

Already stories along with requests for funding to purchase these resources — announced on Wednesday — are coming in.  While expressing gratitude, churches and worshiping communities are sharing stories about struggling with equipping families, digital worship and online Sunday school, and helping their members learn new prayers and sing the hymns they love.

“One church even shared how arson impacted their church,” Fritz said, “and how these resources will help replace the ones they’ve lost.”

Worshiping community and church leaders who need these resources are encouraged to go here. Scroll down to “Scattered Church Resource Support.” After clicking on the apply link, fill it out, indicating how which resources you’d like and how many. There is a limit of 10 of each resource, 30 in all. Depending on demand, priority will be given to smaller congregations and communities.

While you’re on the “Scattered Church” website, look for an announcement on the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow’s Conversation on the Scattered Church: Pastoring the Body of Christ in a Time of Pandemic, which will be held via Zoom at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on August 25.

Reyes-Chow was moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) and is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, California.

Glory to God and the Book of Common Worship were developed through a partnership among the Office of Theology and Worship, the Presbyterian Associations of Musicians and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

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