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We are excited to introduce to you the new structure of the adult quarterly lessons – Liberating Faith Studies. The Bible is our sacred text and therein lies the grand story of which we are a part. It is our hope that with this new lesson structure rooted in stories, we will enter with open eyes and hearts to encounter the wonders of God. Storytelling will offer us the opportunity to engage the wrestling, to encounter the questions, and to join together in a communal pursuit toward faithful living and liberation. Each lesson’s storytelling format will consist of the following sections:
Introduction: Each lesson begins with a brief paragraph that will set the stage for the readings and will open up our minds toward the liberative lens of scripture.
Telling the Bible Story: These lessons use storytelling as the main mode of teaching. This section allows us to enter the story of the gospel through critical thinking. In addition, this section includes creative retellings of the story to make it easier for us to understand in our modern contexts.
Sankofa: This is an African term that means, “go back and get it.” The Sankofa section of each lesson offers us the chance to connect the biblical story to the story of the African continent, the African diaspora, and those of African descent. We can use this section of the lesson to “go back and get” those things that connect us culturally toward liberation.
Case Study: Every lesson includes a case study that presents real and relatively current stories that connect to the Bible story and help to bring out the lesson goals for the session. Most of these stories are tailored to the needs of people of color in our world, offering us a chance to connect to the grander story of creation.
Life Application: Lastly, we are invited to consider how our individual stories connect with the big story of the lesson. After absorbing all of the material, we are able to find ways for us to mature our faith, to become aware of what God requires from us, and to find guidance for our daily living.
Closing Devotions: We believe that all that we do must be centered and guided by God. Relevant hymns, prayers, or other reflections are provided to close out each week’s lessons with a time of devotion and introspection.
These lessons serve to enrich the lives of people of color in particular and oppressed peoples in general through the liberating and transformative power of the gospel. Our lives have been transformed by the story of Jesus and by the retelling of that story in new and imaginative ways. It is our hope that this new format of storytelling will extend the reach of our Church School’s impact in our churches and in our lives.