This new curriculum, called Living Branches: Moravians Growing in Faith, Love & Hope, is a flexible 13-week Sunday School program focused on sharing the story of our Moravian heritage from John Hus to the present day. It includes lower elementary, upper elementary, youth and adult components.
Living Branches addresses the need for updated Sunday school material that helps young and old alike understand how those who came before us have shaped our church today. The curriculum was jointly developed by the Eastern District and the Southern Province Board of Cooperative Ministries, overseen by Marie Couts, Eastern District director of Christian Education; Beth Hayes, director of congregational ministries and resources, Southern Province Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM), Ruth Cole Burcaw, BCM’s executive director; and Mike Riess, executive director of the Interprovincial Board of Communication. The project manager was Margaret Norris from Winston-Salem, N.C.
Each program in the Living Branches curriculum covers historical topics and figures like Hus, Comenius, Zinzendorf, Moravian missions and more. Curriculum planners coordinated the sessions’ topics so that a particular time period or historical figure could be studied by all ages. For example, if the Moravian Church is celebrating Comenius, Sessions 4 and 5 throughout all age ranges can be pulled out and explored.
The lower elementary, upper elementary and youth programs all lead with scripture passages, songs and stories that highlight each lesson. The programs also include fun, creative activities that engage students in Moravian history, along with resources and tools to provide Sunday school leaders with the materials necessary to successfully teach each program.
The adult program, “Faith-Singing Through Moravian History,” covers similar time periods, but does so as a study of Moravian hymns. Each lesson looks at different hymns and how they reflect our heritage. Thought-provoking discussion questions help adult students dig deeper into each subject and reflect on what Moravian hymns mean to them.
Writers for Living Branches include Tricia Everett for the lower and upper elementary programs; The Rev. Carol Foltz for the youth program; and The Rev. Dennis Rohn for the adult program, with contributions from many Moravians. Margaret Norris served as project manager.
Material was reviewed by experts and editors including The Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood from the Moravian Theological Seminary and Center for Moravian Studies; The Rev. Dr. Nola Knouse from the Moravian Music Foundation; the Rev. Dr. C. Daniel Crews, former Southern Province Archivist; the Rev. Otto Dreydoppel; the Rt. Rev. Kay Ward; and many more.
The Living Branches curriculum is now in its final production stages. The lower elementary, upper elementary and adult programs will be available May 19; the youth version will be available in June.
Living Branches will be available for download free of charge for all Moravian congregations in the Northern and Southern Provinces. Contact Marie Couts (Eastern District) or Beth Hayes (Southern Province Board of Cooperative Ministries) to request the digital download. Printed versions will be available at cost.
Watch for more information on the Living Branches curriculum in the coming weeks.
To view a preview sample of Living Branches, click the links below.