United Church Press, the UCC's educational publishing arm, has joined with Cokesbury, the marketing and retailing division of The United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, Tenn., to provide Vacation Bible School (VBS) curriculum to the UCC's 6,000 congregations.
The arrangement begins with the 2003 summer program, "Lighthouse Kids: Shining God's Light," and will extend for at least three additional years. Thus, the UCC joins the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in using the ecumenical VBS program for children.
"Cokesbury offers us the opportunity for a fresh approach to our VBS programming for UCC local churche," says the Rev. Jana Norman, the UCC's minister for curriculum development. "We will be part of the thematic development and congregational testing of each year's theme and content beginning next year." The UCC's educational ministry stresses Bible-based curricula that reflect multicultural and multiracial values, and inclusive language and art illustrations.
The Reverend Timothy G. Staveteig, publisher of Cleveland-based United Church Press, describes the inter-church arrangement as a natural extension of the publishing house's mission to provide quality educational materials to UCC congregations.
"'Lighthouse Kids' is an excellent starting place for this new relationship with Cokesbury," says Staveteig. "The theme will both educate and entertain children with stories of the power of God's light, and to come to know Jesus as God's light shining in the world."
United Church Press is a division of Local Church Ministries, one of the four covenanted ministries of the UCC's national setting.