Setting the Menu: Sunday School or Worship First?
by Roger W. Schmurr
COVID-19 has caused significant changes to church ministries. Zoom no longer refers only to the Corvette passing you on the interstate but also to how parishioners have been participating in worship, Bible studies, and fellowship. Even congregations now meeting corporately find themselves distancing from other worshipers, lamenting the closure of the church nursery, and searching for the offering plate at the back of the auditorium.
Some churches may use this time to promote another change that Orthodox Presbyterian congregations started to employ a few decades ago: starting the Lord’s day with the worship service and following that with Sunday school. Read more
Sunday School Roundup
by Patricia E. Clawson
Sunday schools have changed in the eighty-four years since the OPC began, yet their goal has remained the same: to foster belief by teaching Reformed theology. The OPC’s Second General Assembly in 1936 confirmed the importance of Sunday school by directing congregations to use whatever evangelical and Reformed materials were available. Not satisfied with existing curriculums, the fledgling OPC soon mimeographed its own materials that reflected its theology. By 1975 the OPC and the new Presbyterian Church in America jointly formed Great Commission Publications for the purpose of producing Sunday school materials that were solidly Reformed and biblically based.
Today OPC sessions have several Reformed and biblically-based curricula to choose from as they develop Sunday schools best suited to the needs of their flocks. Nearly forty percent of OPC members attend Sunday school, according to OPC statistician Luke Brown’s 2019 report. Six OP churches with higher-than-average Sunday school attendance share how they educate their flocks, even in the midst of a pandemic. Read more
The Church after George Floyd
by Eric B. Watkins
“Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them” (Eccl. 4:1).
On May 25, our nation watched in horror as a police officer held his knee down on a man’s neck until the man, George Floyd, tragically died. One person with power and authority, bearing the image of God, took the life of another person bearing the image of God. Read more
What Should the Church Say?
by Alan D. Strange
Does the church have something to say in the present civil crisis? Yes, it does. As the prime recipient and interpreter of divine writ, by the Spirit’s enablement, the church has something to say about racism and civil governance: it does because the Bible has something to say about such matters.
Certainly, we, as followers of the Lord Jesus, abominate the death of George Floyd, as one made in God’s image, and decry the police brutality that it so clearly demonstrated; yet while protests that begin and remain peaceful are permissible, Christians call for proper submission to civil authority, condemning rioting and looting as violent and destructive. We support our civil magistracy in the proper wielding of its power. Read more