Teamwork on a global scale
Work on the new children’s teaching material is progressing well. An overview was given at the recent international District Apostle Meeting. Writers and teams from various countries are involved in compiling the various books.
Teaching material has existed in the New Apostolic congregations since about 1908. The first such book was a manual aimed at Priests and teachers to help them conduct religious instruction and Sunday School. Everybody in the German-speaking world referred to its simplified title Hülfsbuch (meaning something like “guide”) because of its cumbersome title Hülfsbuch für die Priester und Diener der Neuapostolischen Gemeinde [Guidebook for Priests and servants of the New Apostolic congregation].
However, not even its successors managed to reach every corner of the New Apostolic world due to costs and the lack of infrastructure. And then at the International Apostle Meeting on Pentecost 2015 in Zambia, Chief Apostle Schneider said, “Instruct the ministers and organise Sunday School for the children in all congregations,” thereby launching a teaching agenda.
And this mission is well underway.
Childfriendly and individual
New teaching material is available and has been in use since about 2019. The lessons have a modern design and contain child-friendly material to help introduce the children to their faith in an age-appropriate and contemporary way. The most conspicuous innovation are the many methodical parts of the lessons, the Activities, which playfully deepen the subject matter.
The aim was to ensure that the teaching material could also be used by teachers with no teaching experience. In addition, the specific media requirements of the Regional Churches are also taken into account so that the possibilities range from printed books to download portals and apps.
But this is only a beginning.
From little to big
In addition to Sunday School there are also—depending on the region—pre-Sunday School, religious instruction, and confirmation lessons for the older children. In this area, the Church is relying on the division of tasks, the standardisation of curricula, and the possibility of individual implementation.
The work on the material for confirmation instruction is being led by the New Apostolic Churches Southern Germany and Switzerland. Development of the teaching material for religious instruction is being headed by the New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany. And pre-Sunday School material is being developed by Canada.
How work on the material for our youngest members is progressing was presented by District Apostle Mark Woll at the conference in Zurich in mid November.
Writers from 17 countries involved
About 30 pre-Sunday School lessons are ready and have been posted on the English CTM website. A further 50 lessons are expected to be posted by September 2023, and the syllabus should be complete by June 2024. The Regional Churches will decide for themselves whether and to what extent the material, which was developed in English, will be translated into other languages.
The writing team which was recruited is definitely very international. Canada is receiving input from 17 countries to help write the lessons and activity sets: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Democratic Republic Congo, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
What had the Chief Apostle said back in 2015 in Lusaka? “I am aware that this is demanding, but I also believe that with God nothing is impossible!”
Doctrinal instruction, International, Congregational life