It’s been years in the making as I’ve been culling through file folders full of handouts, worksheets, lists, and post-it notes. Coming early November, my latest book, “The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook” should be arriving in Cokesbury’s warehouse and hopefully in Amazon’s stockpile (but one never knows with Amazon).
It was fun to assemble and quite a challenge to determine what to include and what to leave out. Trying to make it ‘light’ but informative and useful, as well as categorized in a way that would make sense to a volunteer Christian educator, I had to lay out the page titles on my dining room table before submitting my final draft for publication.
A taste of some of the entries:
- What is Christian Formation?
- Safe Church Practices
- The Three-Legged Stool of Evaluation
- How to Choose the Right Virgin Mary
- Tourist, Missionary, or Pilgrim?
- Coveting Dedicated Space
- How to Be Best Friends with the Altar Guild
- When Snakes Show Up
- How to Get Paint Out of an Easter Dress
- The Budget
- Famous Episcopal Christian Educators
- What To Do When the Bishop Shows Up
- Stress? What Stress?
I’m grateful to all the places (and people) I have ministered in (and with) these past many years that gave me fodder for the creation (and sharing) of so many of the stories and ideas that contributed to this book: countless congregations throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut (specifically those where I have served in a variety of capacities: Grace Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Christ & Holy Trinity in Westport, Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport, and my home parish – St. Matthew’s in Wilton); churches from numerous denominations where I’ve led workshops in countless states across the country; my Forma colleagues; and the hundreds of children, youth, and adults that I’ve had the privilege of serving with.
And thank you to the many colleagues who graciously offered their endorsements for the book. I am honored and humbled by their reviews:
When Episcopal educators have a question or need a resource, the person we turn to is Sharon Ely Pearson. Fortunately for us, Sharon has compiled answers to her most frequently asked questions in this informative, readable and even humorous gem of a book. Whether we are brand-new to this work or have years of experience under our belts, The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook is for us. Just reading the Table of Contents is worth the price. It’s everything we need to know, right at our fingertips. Barbara Tensen Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation, The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
Theological and practical, biblical and humorous, The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook is a treasure trove of wisdom, information, and guidance garnered from Sharon Pearson’s vast experience as a highly regarded leader in this field and geared to the specific context of the Episcopal Church. The well-organized volume covers everything from a discussion of the nature of Christian Formation, to tips about where to put the First Aid Kit, to how to maintain sanity in this vocation. This is a comprehensive, accessible, delightful resource that novice and experienced educators alike will want to have on their bookshelves. What a gift! The Rev. Canon Patricia S. Mitchell, Canon for Christian Formation, The Episcopal Diocese of New York
The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook is a nice, concise collection of information suitable for those new to the ministry of Christian education and formation. The mostly one-page entries helpfully explain “the basics” of Christian education in the Episcopal Church in a readable, light format. This book is particularly suitable for volunteer teachers, DCEs, youth directors, clergy and vestry members responsible for Christian education in their parishes. Cindy Coe, Formation Consultant, Episcopal Relief & Development
The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook is a compilation of information and examples, grounded in theology and history. It’s your perfect how-to book for children’s and youth ministry and would be relevant for both clergy and lay leaders. It’s a book that you can hand to those setting up new ministries, or you can hand it to seasoned veterans, who wish to learn new concepts or find needed validation in those things they may already know. As a professional consultant to parishes for children and youth ministry, I read many books on this subject, but what sets this book apart is that it provides a sound foundation for Christian formation, from job descriptions to sample teacher’s meetings, from ways we understand curriculum theologically to how and why we welcome children into church. This book gives the basics backed by the theory and theology. What a great resource! Genevieve Callard, Assistant to the Bishop for Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries, The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan
The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook is a delightfully entertaining collection of practical information, truly “everything you ever need to know.” Sharon Ely Pearson has created a well-written and thoughtfully organized guide to the job and the ministry of the Christian Educator. Lisa Puccio, Minister for Children and Families, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas and Vice-President of Forma
This book is a true gift to Christian educators! It is a “must have” on the bookshelf and one that should be given to any person who accepts such a position. I wish this had been available years ago when I first took a church position. I would have kept it with me at all times! I look forward to sharing this gift with those in my diocese. Kathy Graham, Coordinator of Lifelong Christian Formation, The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and Forma Board member
Wonderful, Extraordinary, Honest…these are only three words that describe The Handbook for Christian Educators. Pearson is recognized as one of the top experts in the education/formation field and this book is evidence why. In The Christian Educator’s Handbook she provides a range of information from; age- old practical advice, the depth of understanding Lifelong Faith Formation in the 21st Century and the congregation’s role. She includes contemporary issues such as how to handle new challenges such as bullying. For experienced educators it reminds us of the basics we have forgotten. For the new educator it will give you the confidence you will need to excel. This is a must have for all clergy and every seminary student would be wise to read it before their first assignment. Ruth-Ann Collins, Officer, Lifelong Christian Formation, The Episcopal Church