October 16, 2003 New York City -- The National Council of Churches (NCC) team is developing church Sunday School themes for year 2010 - 2016. For years, NCC has been known as the nation’s leading ecumenical body where 36 U.S. denominations comprising 50 million members work to address people’s spiritual and social needs. This is great challenge for NCC although it has been serving as a body that outlines weekly church school lesson for almost 40 denominations.
On September 24 –27, the team of Christian educators, curriculum planners and writes met in Nashville, Tenn to come up with the theme of the future lesson plan. The chosen themes are as follows: God, creation, hope, justice, faith, community, worship and tradition/heritage.
"We don’t know what issues related to creation, ecology, nature, preservation (or) stewardship of the earth will look like in 2016, but we know that it is going to be an issue that people will deal with in some way." said Rev. Patrice Rosner, NCC Associate General Secretary for Education and Leadership Ministries, New York, and a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
According to Rev. Rosner, these themes are timeless, but they way they will look in any particular year is different.
Amazingly, at the time of the Sept. 11, 2002 attack, Sunday school classes across the nation were focusing on the theme “The Light for All People,” that was chosen many years ago, which pertained the message about going from darkness to light. It was the perfect theme for the people who were suffering from the emotional pain.
“We didn’t know. It had to be God,” said Dr. Mary Love, former chair of the Uniform Series committee as his reaction to this coincidence.
Rev. Carmichael Crutchfield of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tenn. said it is only by the grace of God that the team can carry out this work.
"We cannot totally see what Bible study will look like in 2010, but the Committee on the Uniform Series has been in the process of trying to be more relevant to the needs of those who use the lessons," Crutchfield said. "We spend time in prayer with each other and in being open to the movement of God’s spirit. Through discussion, we come to consensus and pray that it is God’s will."
Crutchfield currently chairs the Cycle Planning Team for the NCC’s Uniform Series International Bible Lessons Committee.