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Today in the Mission Yearbook

PC(USA) partnership gives away more than 4,800 copies of family-friendly book of psalms

‘Psalms of Wonder’ giveaway was ‘an immense joy’

April 7, 2024

“Psalms of Wonder: Poems from the Book of Songs,” a Flyaway Books title, was published Oct. 3, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Publishing Corporation)

Thanks to a partnership between the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 414 churches and communities of faith recently received free copies of the illustrated book “Psalms of Wonder,” by Carey Wallace.

Published in the fall of 2023, the book features accessible and inspiring translations and illustrations of a selection of the psalms by the author and by the book’s illustrator, Khoa Le. A grant overseen by the PMA’s Office of Christian Formation gifted bundles of 10 books in either English or Spanish to congregations so they could share them with families for faith formation in the home. Another 70 books were handed out as door prizes last month at the annual gathering of the Association of Partners in Christian Education.

Wallace and the Rev. Marissa Galván-Valle, who translated the work into Spanish, met with those who received the book through the grant during an online gathering in early January to celebrate how the book was being embraced by the communities and families who received it.

“Book bundles were sent to 46 of the 50 states and Puerto Rico,” said Miatta Wilson, associate for Christian Formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Wilson said that 3,610 copies of the English version and 1,220 copies of the Spanish version were sent out through the grant initiative. Each copy of the book included an insert to assist families in how to use the book for faith formation in the home. A congregational guide with information and image files to use in worship has also been made available as a download. “We need to celebrate that we were able to get that many books into the hands of people,” said Wilson, “for that is an immense joy.”

Joy and wonder were the impetus for Wallace, the author of four other books — mostly longer works of fiction — to write her first illustrated book. Wallace remembered her mother teaching her the beauty of Scripture through the psalms. She and her brother each had to memorize a favorite psalm as a child. Wallace wanted to pass on the wonder she felt as a child first encountering Scripture to other children and to offer a way for caregivers to engage children with the Bible the way her mother had.

A partnership of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation distributed books to 46 states and Puerto Rico.

As Wallace greeted those gathered, she made it clear that she loved doing church events in person or virtually and would be happy to visit communities that were reading the book. Wallace was also eager to learn how the books were being shared. Grant recipients shared stories of their book giveaways in small groups and in the chat over Zoom and in advance via email.

“We gave our books out at our Advent event to the families there and set up times to do personal drop-offs with other families,” wrote the Rev. Megan Berry, associate pastor for Children, Youth and Families at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin.

Laura Burns, director of Children’s Ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Grant Haven, Michigan, shared the book as part of the program for a monthly parenting circle. She described how everyone shared two words about how they were feeling. “It was so helpful to name our mixed feelings: excited/tired, overwhelmed/hopeful, stressed/grateful,” said Burns. “Then I brought out the books and talked about how the psalms have all these emotions and how we can bring all our authentic feelings to God.”

Burns described the experience of watching the group of parents gathered around their communal table to receive the books and then leave to bring them home. “This invitation deepened our community prayer. People brought them home gratefully,” Burns said.

Beth Waltemath, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 7, 2024, the Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Publishing Corporation gives away copies of ‘Psalms of Wonder’

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Richard Embry, Systems Developer, IT Application Development, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)  
David English, Trust Officer, Presbyterian Foundation 

Let us pray

God of all people, your care for each of us strengthens us to go out and tell others the good news. We trust in your call to be disciples of Jesus and to be instruments of your mission wherever we go. We pray that our eyes and ears are open to answer your call every day of our lives. Amen.