Adult Bible Study announces new study cycle (Press release in English and Spanish)

News release–English; see below for the release in Spanish.

June 8, 2016

Adult Bible Study announces new study cycle
Anabaptist Bible study curriculum for today’s church

AB8004HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—Adult Bible Study (ABS), MennoMedia’s premier faith formation curriculum for adults, begins a new six-year cycle this fall of studying the whole Bible.

The outlines for weekly lessons, based on eight biblical themes, were developed by the Committee on the Uniform Series, an ecumenical group of Christian educators and publishers in which MennoMedia participates. Anabaptist pastors, teachers, and lay leaders in Canada and the United States write the study materials. ABS Online offers “just in time” commentary that relates the Bible studies to current events in the church and in the world. Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos, a Spanish-language version of ABS, is also available.

“The themes provide a helpful way to see connections between the Old and New Testaments,” commented James E. Horsch, ABS editor emeritus. “We are particularly excited about a New Testament unit featuring women who were called to minister.” Horsch served as chair of the Committee on the Uniform Series during the development of the 2016–22 study cycle.

ABS offers meaty, relevant, Anabaptist commentary that invites spiritual growth and ABS-iconSmaller

practice,” said editor Sharon Williams. “ABS is great for congregations looking for Sunday school or Bible study curriculum that draws people into God’s Word and results in a closer walk with Jesus in the world.”

More information about ABS and EBA is available at www.MennoMedia.org/abs or 1-800-245-7894. Individual and bulk subscriptions are available.

MennoMedia Staff

For more information:
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Boletín informativo

08 de junio del 2016

Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos anuncia nuevo ciclo de estudio
Currículo de estudios bíblicos anabautistas para la iglesia de hoy

Basic CMYK

HARRISONBURG, Virginia, y KITCHENER, Ontario— Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos (EBA), el currículo principal de MennoMedia para la formación de la fe de adultos, inicia en otoño un nuevo ciclo de seis años para estudiar toda la Biblia.

Las líneas generales de las lecciones semanales, basadas en ocho temas bíblicos, fueron desarrolladas por el Comité sobre las Series Uniformes, un grupo ecuménico de educadores y editoriales cristianos del que MennoMedia participa. Pastores, maestros y líderes laicos anabautistas de Canadá y EE. UU. escriben los materiales de estudio. Adult Bible Study (ABS), la versión en inglés de EBA, también está disponible.

“Los temas brindan una forma práctica de ver conexiones entre el Antiguo y el Nuevo Testamento”, comentó James E. Horsch, editor emérito de ABS. “Nos entusiasma de modo particular una nueva unidad de Nuevo Testamento sobre mujeres que recibieron el llamado a ministrar”. Horsch se desempeñó como presidente del Comité sobre las Series Uniformes durante el desarrollo del ciclo de estudio 2016-22.

EBA ofrece un comentario anabautista sustancioso y pertinente que invita al crecimiento espiritual y la práctica”, dijo la editora Sharon Williams. “EBA es fantástico para aquellas congregaciones que buscan un currículo de escuela dominical o de estudios bíblicos que involucre a la gente con la palabra de Dios y que produzca como resultado un andar más íntimo con Jesús en el mundo”.

Más información sobre EBA y ABS disponible en www.MennoMedia.org/abs o llamando al 1-800-245-7894. Hay guías de EBA para el alumno y el maestro para descargar e imprimir.

Personal de MennoMedia
para más información
Melodie Davis
Gerente de prensa
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org 

Your Sunday school quarterly: God’s kingdom at work

MennoBytes for May 26, 2014 by Sharon K. Williams, editor for Adult Bible Studies and Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos (EBA), our Spanish translation.Sharon Williams in her office

Sharon K. Williams with her dog, a companion as she works from her home.

“Who chooses the Scripture passages and themes?” “Why don’t we just use the Standard Lesson quarterly/commentary, which is THE Uniform Series curriculum, right?”

People often ask about the origins of our Adult Bible Study (ABS) and Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos.

Every ABS/EBA study of is a marvelous example of God’s kingdom at work. Every year Christian editors, writers, and theologians of various denominations and publishers spend a week together, praying and discerning the future of Bible study for churches around the world. We are the Committee on the Uniform Series (CUS), celebrating 142 years of helping all ages study God’s Word with a connection—a plan to study the same biblical text on the same day. CUS is one of the ministries of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.

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Adults studying the Bible in a small congregation, Williamsburg Mennonite Church, Va.

My CUS colleagues are amazing women and men of faith. Our diversity (ethnic, theological, educational, life experiences) is as strong as our unity—our commitment to serve Christ and his Church, and to respect “the Bible as the record of the revelation of God in Christ, as the major source of understanding the meaning of the Christian faith, and as the most effective means of confronting persons with the great concerns of the Gospel.”[1] We represent 20 denominations and 30 independent publishers (one in Puerto Rico and one in Nigeria). Many other publishers use the CUS outlines; the Bible studies are written or translated in many languages.

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Large Presbyterian congregations like this one in Charlotte, North Carolina also use their own version of the Uniform Series Bible Study series.

The scope of our work will surprise you. Right now some of us are developing a six-year study of the Bible for 2022–28, choosing the themes and Scripture texts. Another group is developing age level goals for each lesson, working in the 2019–20 year. Everyone is drafting the writers’ outlines for 2018–19. I chair the Home Daily Bible Readings committee, which is working with our consultant James Horsch (former editor of ABS) on devotional readings for 2018­–19.

When the annual “Guide for Lesson Development” and “Home Daily Bible Readings” are released, each publisher creates its own Bible study materials, shaping the theological interpretation for our churches. The Standard Lesson curriculum is Standard Publishing’s version. ABS and EBA are two of a small group of Anabaptist curricula.

Emily Toews pic

Emily Toews, writer for the Summer 2015 Adult Bible Study — already written and in production!

ABS

The current summer 2014 Adult Bible Study guide.

It’s an awesome “God thing” when teachers and students discover that a lesson or quarter— conceived 10–15 years earlier—is “just what was needed.” God’s Word is alive and relevant! Join me in thanking God for the vision of the Committee on the Uniform Series—to unite Christians everywhere to grow in our faith through studying God’s Word together.

—Sharon K. Williams
Editor, Adult Bible Study and Estudios Bíblicos para Adultos
abseditor@mennomedia.org

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For more information and to order, head over to the MennoMedia store. ABSOnline and ABSReproducibles are found at www.MennoMedia.org/abs.​

[1] Handbook of Principles and Procedures, Committee on the Uniform Series, revised 2013, 17.

You have to be there

By Byron Rempel-Burkholder, book editor

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I sang that song three times on Easter weekend, and each time I was moved by its power to take me into the gospel story. More than the traditional Caucasian-written hymns of the season—this African American spiritual got me in the gut.

There’s much more going on in the song than mere words. There is personal testimony and passion: “Sometimes it causes me to tremble.” There is a dialogue between the “you” and the “me” that begs participation. And there is an overlapping of past and present: obviously I wasn’t physically at the foot of the cross or at the empty tomb, but by asking if I was there, the song forces me to know that that story is still running in my life.

I hope this is what is happening in the Bible study materials we at MennoMedia produce. One book that is soon to go to press is Creating a Scene in Corinth—A Simulation by Reta Halteman Finger and George D. McClain.

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Like Reta’s earlier book, Paul and the Roman House Churches, this book takes us back to the first century of the church. Through solid historical research and images, it shows what life must have been like for the Corinthian believers, and it helps us play-act the drama of the original readers as they heard the words of the Apostle Paul being read to them. By participating in the simulation, we begin to recognize the uncanny parallels between Corinth and our own church and society. And we begin to grapple with how the gospel challenges us in our community life.

Tom Boomershine, in his foreword, notes that Creating a Scene rides a wave of biblical scholarship known as “performance criticism”—a way of reading the Bible by entering the dramatic and sometimes raucous situation that surrounded the early text and its readers. In contrast, traditional Bible study has been much more “silent,” and focused on the face-value of the text’s words and grammar. The latter alone have their important place, but they are not enough to engage contemporary people. As readers, we have to “be there.”

Our new Dig In curriculum (see last Wednesday’s post by Amy Gingerich) also tries to catch this wave as it seeks to support Mennonite denominational efforts to revive our passion for Bible study. Dig In uses video clips of Mennonites across the continent reflecting on their experience of the text. Everything from the opening sharing of each session, through the discussion questions and closing prayer, has us personalizing the text, finding ourselves and our faith community inside the story.

In various ways, “being there” is at the heart of other learning tools for all ages. The quarterly Adult Bible Study uses a “life-to-Bible-to-life” movement in each session. Our Believers Church Bible Commentary series is unique in its inclusion of a section entitled, “The Text in the Life of the Church” in each chapter. And, of course, our children’s curriculum often has students acting out the story as if they were there.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Anabaptist Christians lean toward studying the Bible in this way. We’re not content with abstract theology and belief as the main products of our study. Our concrete lives as Jesus’ faithful disciples are what preoccupied the writers, readers, and characters of the biblical stories themselves. And that’s ultimately what matters for us, today, too.

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Byron Rempel-Burkholder, book editor