Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
Dear Seasons/Whole People of God Folks:
One afternoon, after a confluence of strange events, our English-speaking church in the Republic of Panama went down to twelve hardy souls. We have a huge building, our minister had left, we’d lost a number of key members, we had no program — and none of us had clue what to do next.
It was your classic “Christ moment”!
Back in 1998, I had used the “Whole People of God” program and had loved it. That fateful afternoon, I went home and googled Whole People of God in the desperate hope that you guys were still in business.
Thank GOD – no, really: THANK GOD! — you were! We immediately ordered your (delightfully affordable!) SeasonsFUSION materials (which, living in Panama, the whole Internet thing works SO WELL for us) and for the first several months we used them for EVERYTHING from the liturgy to the music to the sermon. Gradually, we discovered among us folks who were pretty good speakers, and we started to relax a little. We kept Seasons at the center of our worship hour, but we played around at the edges, which Seasons encourages and supports. Amazingly, people – even YOUNG people – started showing up for services! We now have about forty regular attenders – still not “critical mass” in a building that seats 300, but it’s better than twelve!
In June of this year, I again googled the “magic” words Whole People of God, this time looking for a Sunday school program. (Growing churches need great Christian education!) After almost a decade without a full CE program, on September 18th, 2011, we started offering an hour of Sunday school on Sunday mornings – again, courtesy of Whole People of God. Two weeks in, and it’s going surprisingly well! (Last Sunday we had fifteen adults and three kids!) (We’re working on the kid part!)
So now we’re, like, a real church. Every Sunday, you guys give us more material than we could use in SIX HOURS – and we have to fill only two. The materials are interesting, fun, challenging, intelligent and incredibly creative. It’s stuff that works especially well with groups of families and friends in a multi-generational environment. People love acting out scenes and singing the “zipper” songs and participating in all of the many scenarios you help us create. (Last Sunday, we did the Moses “scene” where the Israelites kept shouting “We wanna go back! We wanna go back!” A HUGE hit!)
Anyway, I was preparing my lesson for this Sunday; and, as usual, I was having a hard time deciding which creative ideas to use and which to let go. And it occurred to me that a thank-you letter to you and your wonderful company (companies) was in order.
A dear pastor friend of mine says, “Christianity is always only one generation away from extinction.” You guys helped to save from extinction our little church in our little corner of the world. You’re doing your part very well; don’t stop!
God bless you!
Sue E. Robbins
Sue Robbins, Council Secretary, NEW Sunday School Superintendent, and General Dogs-body
Balboa Union Church
Balboa, Republic of Panama