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Sabbath School History

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Sabbath School Lesson Go Online
United News July, 2002

Beginning in August of this year 240 Sabbath School lessons for teachers will be posted on the UCG Youth website (www.ucg.org/youth/). This Sabbath School project, designed to help instructors provide exciting, interactive classes, is the end result of many years of effort involving approximately 30 members and ministers. 

Though many United congregations had functional Sabbath School programs underway when United began, there was a desire to make available a UCGIA approved curriculum and lessons that would be made available to all congregations.  Since my wife Judy had experience in working with children and had proposed this initiative, she and I were asked to coordinate this project under the direction of the Ministerial Services Youth Education Committee. 

The emphasis in United is on collaboration and this undertaking provided a very unique way to combine the talents of many individuals.  Unlike having a few full-time employees producing the lessons, this project would involve over 25 church members and 5 pastors scattered across the country. 

Since there was a desire to tap into the expertise and experience of the membership, the first step was to find out who was willing to work on the project.  A survey was developed by the Home Office and was sent out to the membership in 1997. However, before the volunteers could begin working on the actual lessons, a curriculum had to first be developed.

The initial step in creating a curriculum was to collect and categorize all the programs that were presently being used in local congregations. A committee in Minneapolis, consisting of Jan Creed, Sue Ellison, Christy Hoaglun, Linda Knapp, Michelle Rageth, and Judy Servidio, reviewed all the Sabbath School programs being used in the field in order to learn the commonality of what was being taught.  This became the basis of the proposed Sabbath School curriculum.

Once a preliminary curriculum was developed, it was sent to the volunteers for review and comment. After incorporating the suggestions and edits of the volunteers, the updated version was presented to the Council in November of 1998, and approved.  The curriculum consisted of six levels (K through 5th grade) of which there are four lessons per month covering ten months of the year. The second phase of the project, creating teacher's outlines for each of the 240 lessons, was then ready to begin.

Writing teams were developed for each of the six-grade levels based on volunteer's response to the survey. Church pastors, consisting of Steve Myers, Greg Sargent, Jim Servidio, Gary Smith, and Herb Teitgen became team leaders of the various levels.  Though an overall format and editing style was established, the various lessons reflect the individuality, experience, and talents of each writer.

Once each lesson was written it was reviewed by the Youth Education Committee for doctrinal accuracy and compatibility with the curriculum. Tony Kardell, a professional graphics designer from the Minneapolis congregation, created the lay out and later reformatted the lessons in their present configuration.  The lessons were ready for use by Sabbath School instructors in the fall of 2000.

It was determined that the 2000-2001 school year would be used as a testing period. As teachers utilized the lessons during that year, we asked for feedback so that we could do further refinement and editing. Mrs. Becky Bennett of the Cincinnati congregation provided the final editing and updating of the lessons based on the suggestions sent in by the teachers.  These revised lessons were used this past year.

Now that the final edits have been made, we are making the lessons available on our Youth Education web site with the help of webmaster Mr. Andy Lausted.  We deeply appreciate the hundreds of hours that our volunteers gave to make this project a success.  These lessons will greatly assist our teachers in illustrating and teaching the truth of God to our children.

Though we feel Sabbath School is very important, the time spent in class was never intended to take the place of parental instruction in the home.  For this reason each lesson contains a Family Activity Sheet, which instructors give to the children to take home. This sheet explains the fundamental purpose of the lesson and also suggests ways by which the parents can reinforce the biblical principles covered.  Thus, parents are kept fully apprised of what their children are learning, and are also helped in their own teaching of their sons and daughters.

The following writers served as members on the various writing teams.  Their time and effort will produce much fruit in the lives of our children for years to come.  Level K — Sue Allen, Dianne Clark, Barb Fouch, Corinne Morrison, Pete McNair and Judy Servidio. Level 1 — Shannon Allwine, Amy Arner, Sue Blumel, Janice Creed, Kathy Myers, Donna Myers, Kim Petty, Connie Seifert and Marti Springer. Level 2- Sue Ellison, Maxine Mitchell, Phyllis Newton, Jeanne Patton, Ramona Wood and Janice Spieker. Level 3 — Debbie Call, Mike Bennett, Becky Bennett, Jane Havens, Tom Henager, Linda Hukle and Heather Martin. Level 4 — Karen Allwine, Beverly Crystal, Pamela Decker, Dagmar Howe, Sue Jentzen, Brian Kelso, Matthew Kelso, Susan Krenz, Jessa Moser and Marian Sargent.  Level 5 — Raymond Blouin, Jim Burbeck, Marcus Brown, Roy Fouch, Skip Miller, Violet Sanders and Chris Westrick.