Christian Education Week

Christian Education Week 2017–18:
CULTIVATING COMMUNITY
A CELEBRATION OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION

On October 31, 2017, the church will remember the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Christian Schools International is encouraging member schools and Christian schools everywhere to mark the anniversary by making 2017–2018 a school year of unity and community. Jesus said that the greatest of the commandments are to love God and to love each other.

God called his people into community. Israel was not a collection of individuals, but a chosen people. When the community was obedient, the community was blessed. When the community became disobedient, the community felt the consequences. Community is God’s plan, and cultivating community is a part of our mission.

God’s community is not bound by place or time. God’s community is global, and 2017–2018 is an opportunity to celebrate unity in the body of Christ in our Christian schools.

The suggested theme, “Cultivating Community,” could be used for the entire year, during Christian Education Week (October 29–November 5, 2017), or in any way that works for your school. Christian Schools International's materials offer flexibility and a starting point for your own creative ideas on how to celebrate this occasion.

Resources include an insert for school publications or bulletins and a litany for worship in churches or chapels. CSI is also working with the Christian Educators Association, CSI member regions, and schools to assemble additional resources and ideas.

There is also a booklet of devotional readings; schools will receive print copies of the devotional booklets in the fall, and the booklet is available for download at no cost. 

Updates and resources will be added to the website as they are available (see below). If you have suggestions for how to commemorate the Reformation or how to cultivate community, please contact Jeff Blamer at jblamer@csionline.org.

 


 

Resources

Timetable

The resources are designed to allow for choice and flexibility. Use them during the week of October 29 – November 5, 2017; extend commemoration activities for a seven-week period, using one of the sub-themes each week as a worship/chapel theme or classroom theme; or use the theme for the duration of the school year, incorporating your own ideas and individual creativity.

Subthemes

There are seven subthemes that are distinctively reformed: community as described in the Old Testament, Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, glory to God alone, and community as described in the New Testament. Seven authors have written reflections on each of these sub-themes. The authors are

  • Ray Hendriks, Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools;
  • Bob DeMoor, pastor emeritus, Edmonton, Alberta;
  • Mary Hulst, chaplain, Calvin College;
  • Denise Posie, pastor, Christian Reformed Church of North America;
  • Wilbert VanDyk, pastor and retired from Calvin Seminary;
  • James Schaap, author, Dordt College;
  • Jeff Blamer, Christian Schools International.

With each reflection, scripture and suggested songs are provided. Member schools will be mailed booklets in September 2017; additional booklets will be available for a nominal cost for schools that wish to order more for broader distribution. The reflections are also available as a complimentary PDF that may be downloaded and reproduced.

CULTIVATING COMMUNITY BOOKLET

 

Covers, inserts, and litanies

Schools may choose to use program covers, inserts, and/or a litany for chapels, publications, and/or provide them to churches. Below are the available downloads.

 


 

Other ideas and suggestions

We offer these additional ideas for commemorating this anniversary. We’ll continue to add to the list as more resources become available, so please check back, and let us know if you have a great idea for how to remember the Reformation and to celebrate community.

Send your ideas to Jeff Blamer at CSI jblamer@csionline.org. The intention is to make all resources available by no later than October 1, 2017, so consider September 20, 2017, to be the submission deadline.

  1. READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
    The Christian Educators Association has suggested reading through the entire Bible. CEA intends to do this during its three-day annual conference in October; people will take shifts and read the text aloud from beginning to end. CEA estimates that it will take about 72 hours. This could be an idea for a school to implement with its student body, its parents, and/or its churches.
  2. ELEMENTARY RESOURCE PACKET
    CEA is working with one of its elementary schools to create an elementary idea packet of resources.
  3. REFORMATION COMMEMORATION MUSICAL
    Emily Lund, music teacher at Calvin Christian in Escondido, California, has written a children’s musical that focuses on Martin Luther’s life and his contributions. She is happy to share all or part of it with other schools; if you are interested, contact Emily directly, and she will provide a copy for your review: emilylund@calvinchristianescondido.org

    Music for one of the songs, “Soli Deo Gloria,” is available to download as a PDF. View the video of Emily and students from Calvin Christian performing it below.

  4. THEME T-SHIRT
    Schools that adopt the theme “Cultivating Community” might chose to create a school t-shirt. The shirt could include the theme name, a theme verse such as Ephesians 2: 8, the school name or logo, or perhaps some other artwork. If your school creates a shirt design and is willing to share it with other CSI schools, please send it to jblamer@csionline.org.
  5. ECUMENICAL EVENT
    Christians in Kalamazoo, Michigan, are putting together a community-wide ecumenical event. The combined worship service is being co-hosted by Protestant and Catholic leaders, who “want to bring together all Christians—Protestants and Catholics—in honor of Jesus' prayer expressed in John 17.” The focus is not to reach agreement on doctrine or social issues, but on lifting up the name of Jesus and celebrating the tenets of the faith on which there is agreement. See their flyer.

 


 

Visit the Christian Education Week Archives page for past years' information.