Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sunday School Questions

Quotidian Grace (fellow RGBP-er) has a post about offering Sunday School. They aren't doing it this year, and are treating it as "sabbath" - a time for teachers to get a break and be refreshed for the coming year.Now, this is what I have always been accustomed to. I have always taught in churches where being a teacher meant missing at least part of the "upstairs" worship, most weeks. I always found teaching Sunday School to be the most rewarding activity in my spiritual life - but like most good spiritual work, it is exhausting. Sunday school teachers - just like us clergy types - end up working on Sunday. They need some down time too, just like us clergy types.

Recently though, a friend who teaches church school at my own church commented how much he hates the term "program year" in churches. So much so, in fact, that he counted how many times I used the phrase in a meeting we were at and told me afterwards. I can see his point - we live in a town on the edge of the "up north" territory in Michigan. Most people in our congregation have summer cottages, and spend a lot of their time there, and not so much here on Sunday mornings. Its not that we don't do anything in summer. We have a Vacation Bible School, that had 60 kids and 30 teen and adult volunteers last year. This year, we're taking the youth group on a mission trip. But - we really are a program-sized church and there is no doubt that programs essentially stop between June and September.

So I wonder... at what point does "sabbath rest" become "vacation from God" in the summertime?


Quotidian Grace said...

Your last question is what really bothers me about not having SS in the summer.

By the way, we have a "dedicated" Sunday School period on Sunday mornings, so none of our teachers have to miss worship. I think that is important.

Susie said...

Yep, I agree. In fact, I'm starting to think that the "dedicated" hour is really the best way to go.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I have no real right to weigh in on this one, chaplain type that I am, but what would it be like to take a month--or two in the summer and consider it "sabbath" and do nothing but worship? Somehow the idea of sabbath rather than program year really appeals to me.