------------- Last updated : January 24, 2002
GraceLink Disgrace - Part 2

 

A Subtle Attack on Our Children

 

Including Alternative Options for Your Sabbath School

The following are more serious concerns about the GraceLink curriculum from concerned parents and church leaders. The GraceLink curriculum is published by one of our SDA publishing houses. There are a number of churches that have decidedly chosen not to use the GraceLink materials because they do not represent the kind of spiritual food that we should give to our children. Included in this transmission is a letter from such a church. Also included are two articles from an SDA pastor who is charged with the care of the "little lambs" in his flock. God bless him for being a faithful watchman.

Further this edition of the Hartland E-Magazine also includes a list of alternative materials that are available for churches to use instead of GraceLink. We hope this will be helpful to all who hunger for material that is faithful to Adventism's true message, and that will lead the children to a true relationship with Christ. Also if you need electronic copies of the pictures and text material on them, we are presently preparing these for distribution and in a short while they should be ready - no promises. But if you would like us to email you attachments with pictures on which these letters from concerned parents and Sabbath School teachers are based, feel free to ask. When they are available, we'll send them.

We do not mean to be laborious with the long list of problems with the GraceLink curriculum illuminated by these many concerned parents, teachers, and leaders. But we felt that you need as much documentation as possible. Remember that none of them were actually written by anyone connected with Hartland. Some things mentioned in this as well as previous transmissions (and for that matter, future transmissions), are of less consequence than other things. When combined together, the composite picture emerges that clearly leaves much to be desired. Both the important and the less important issues are posted in this series so that you will have a resource upon which to draw in addressing this curriculum in your own churches. We apologize if there is some amount of overlap, but with the sheer level of concern and the wide variety of letters and materials from so many concerned parents, it seemed the best way to share it would be to simply publish at least the most significant letters in their entirety. We realize that we have only published some of the concerns that have been expressed, but we hope that it will cover the issues adequately.

Again, our loyalty to God's truth and to the SDA church will not let us remain silent. You are free to share this unedited with any SDA. But more importantly, please write the General Conference Sabbath School department with your concerns. They need to hear from you. If you have already written, please send us a copy. [Our further comments in brackets].

A look at GraceLink

(By a concerned parent, name withheld)

I was recently called upon to make a presentation to my local church board about the concerns that the other teachers and I had with the new GraceLink curriculum. Since then I have been asked by a number of people for a copy of what I said that day and the illustrations that I used. It was because of these requests that I decided to make up this information packet so that it can be easily handed out to you, a concerned teacher, parent or church member. I wish that I could include some of the illustrations that I will be referring to but I fear that would violate copyright laws. I encourage you to take the effort to look up as many of the examples as possible. I have tried to be concise and to the point and have made a concerted effort to include references where pertinent. I hope that this information will help you in making the decision that is best for your church and your children.

If you haven't already done so I would suggest that you look at the GraceLink web site. This will give you an overview of the new curriculum and how it is to be implemented. [We understand that the website has been changed recently to tone down the more objectionable material]. This will be especially helpful if you aren't already familiar with this new material. You can view sample lessons and pictures on the home page. Also the Frequently asked Questions page gives quite a bit of background, and can be informative. The Web address is: http://northamerica.adventist.org/cm/gracelink/faqs.html

Before I get started with specifics I would like to make a few general statements that relate to this new materials and the changes I see in them. The new material has made a complete change in format from the old in that it is all done in a cartoon/comic book format. Now there are many views on cartoons among us. Some of us allow our children to watch them on TV or read about them in books at home and some of us don't. What ever your stand on this personally, doesn't really matter, but I am sure that you will agree with me on this point, and that being that we have all told our children that these are made up stories and they are not real. Here in lies the problem. Our children have always associated cartoons with fiction. Now they are suddenly supposed to associate them with the true stories of the Bible. Small children especially, have a hard time differentiating between what is real and what is made up. Why would we want to intentionally make the stories of the Bible fictionalized and therefore in the minds of children put them in the same class as Gepetto and the whale in Pinocchio, or Jack and the Beanstalk?

I must share a true story that is an excellent example of this. I know the people involved in this story so I know it is true, but I will not share their names here for confidentiality reasons.

The father in this story was raised as an SDA but strayed away. He married and had a son, but mom and dad eventually divorced. The son lives with mom, but visits dad from time to time. The SDA Grandparents took the boy to their church with them where he attended Sabbath school and was given a junior quarterly from the new GraceLink curriculum. He brought it home and showed it to his dad and asked if he wanted to read it with him. After looking at the quarterly, Dad said, "son what do we know about cartoons?" The son replied, "Well we know that they are not true." Dad said, "So what does that tell us about these stories?" The son said " Well I guess they are not true either" and so saying the son discarded the quarterly.

I know that this is a drastic approach, but I also think that we are fooling ourselves if we think that our kids will not draw similar conclusions about some of this material. We must ask ourselves, is this really the kind of association that we want to promote with our Sabbath School materials.

I teach in the Cradle Roll division, and it is as a result of reviewing the pilot program for this division that has led me to the point of making this information available for others.

The lesson that I received as the sample pilot lesson, is on the flood. In the attempt to simplify this story to the level of 0-3 year olds the writers have left out so many details that the main point of this story is completely lost.

You can view the student's text and the pictures on the web site under the section of sample lessons. I suggest that you read this now and look at the accompanying pictures. So that my following comments will make sense.

Cradle Roll Division

Page 1. There is no mention of why God was sending a flood or anything about the wicked state of the world.

Page 2. The children are led to believe through the text and the pictures that only Noah and his boys built the ark. Never are they told that Noah preached to the people or that he invited anyone to come into the ark with him. Also the two boys in the foreground of the picture could be perceived as black and oriental. The flood happened before the tower of Babel, and this is when we know the changes in race happened with the changing of the languages.

Page 3. Then they are told that " Animals came waking towards Noah's big boat. No one was leading them. They were coming all by them selves …….it was an animal parade"

Page 4. Then the family enters the ark and it begins to rain. No mention of the 7 days wait. And the accompanying picture shows a black, an oriental and a white angel protecting the ark during the storm. We have no indication that angels are ethnically correct, and again this story took place while everyone was still one race.

Page 6. When the storm is over they get off the ark and the first thing they see is a rainbow. We know the rainbow was not given to them until after they had built an alter, offered the sacrifices and prayed.

Page 7. It says that Noah's family first thanked God for the rainbow and then the care during the flood. No mention is ever made of the sacrifices and the prayers that preceded the rainbow. Nowhere in the Bible or SOP does it say that Noah thanked God for the Rainbow.

Under the new program, Cradle Roll would only have 12 lessons a year. Each lesson would be repeated for a month. I understand that these are small children that need repetition and activities, but what I see in the teacher's helps for this new curriculum is a lack of reverence. The focus is more on the "fun." The suggested activities are more appropriate for a VBS program or a daycare setting than Sabbath School. n reviewing the pilot program the suggested activities that I would do in Sabbath School for this lesson are things like: Have the kids float boats in a tub of water. Give them play-doe and animal shaped cookie cutters to cut out animals with. We are to have them dress up like Noah while we sing "Noah was a friend of God" to the tune of London Bridge is falling Down" or swing the kids in a blanked while we sing "who is in the ark". Another suggested song has the words "Noah hoped his boat would float." Noah was a man of God with a great deal of faith. I am sure that through faith he KNEW it would float. The kids are to make finger paint rainbows. Glue cotton balls to a cloud shape with hanging strings of raindrops. Make animal shapes out of your fingerprints that you stamp onto paper with inkpads, make an angel out of a lollypop and tissue paper, or make an edible ark out of banana and animal crackers and serve it in Sabbath school. This is the Cradle Roll division, birth through 3 years. Can you imagine the chaos that activities like this would create? Most of the craft activities would take one-on-one adult supervision. I know in my Sabbath School, I don't have that kind of help. Sabbath would no longer be a sacred time where we learn about Jesus and the other Bible characters, but would turn into a glorified daycare where we have lots of "fun" and tell a story that is a little bit of truth mixed with a whole lot of error.

"The Sabbath School is not a place of entertainment, to amuse and divert the children, although, rightly conducted, it can be all of this: but it is a place where children and youth are educated, where the Bible is opened to the understanding, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. It is a place where the light of truth is to be imparted." Counsels on Sabbath School Work p. 99

Primary Division

The Primary division has just started the new GraceLink curriculum in January. I only have this quarter and the material that we have received for next quarter to review but that is enough to raise concerns in that division also.

(This first example is on the web page and I encourage you to download it and look at it now.) The very first lesson in this quarter (Jan-March 2001) was about the tower of Babel. The point that the writers made with this story was that "God loves differences." The story had very little emphasis on the wrong that the people were doing. It doesn't even mention that they were worshiping idols. Instead it implied that the reason that God confused the languages was to get the people to populate the earth instead of staying all in one place. It says, "They were crowding together in one city. What could God do to stop them? How could He get them to make their homes in quiet, safe places?" So because He loved them so much He confused their language. The lesson concludes with a picture that shows a bunch of happy smiling people leaving a tower that was never destroyed and going off to "enjoy the good things God continued to shower upon them" I also need to point out the memory verse. It says, "God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation" Acts 10: 34 and 35 (NIV). What Acts 10: 34 and 35 (KJV) actually says is: "Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." What they have done with this lesson and this verse is leave out the qualifiers. God doesn't just unconditionally accept every one, but those that feareth him and worketh righteousness.

Then to emphasize the lesson the teacher's quarterly suggests that you give the kids paper and scissors and have them cut out different animal ear shapes and tape them to their head and then have them discuss how they feel about different animals. Or you can call out words like Toddler, Soldier, Elderly person, Woman in high heals, and have the kids parade around the room imitating the way these people might walk. Then you are supposed to make the point that people walk differently because they have some special need and maybe the kids could help when they recognize a need. Later you can give them all cups and plates and various art supplies and have them team up and see who can imitate the Babel builders and make the highest tower in the shortest time and them give a big round of applause to the winning team. Sabbath School is ended with a grug (group hug) so that everyone can feel included and loved.

"Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's Justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy Law, are all kept out of sight" -The Great Controversy, p 558

"Let there be no frivolous or superficial interpretations of the Scriptures, but let each be prepared to go to the bottom of the subject presented" -Counsels on Sabbath School Work p. 182

In the quarterly that would be passed out next quarter there is a story of Korah, Dathan, and Abihu, This story tells of the rebellion against Moses and Aaron. The problem is that in the 5 times that these men's names are mentioned in the story no one caught the fact that Abihu had been killed sometime before this story ever happened and that it was actually Abiram that joined Korah and Dathan.

It is a sad day when the parents and teachers have to proof the lessons ahead of time for factual errors in the basic Bible story. Blatant error shows up in these quarterlies time and time again.

Also it disturbs me that the point of this lesson is that "We worship God when we respect His authority." The point is true that Korah, Dathan and Abiram were really murmuring against God when they murmured against Moses, but as one of the activities for Sabbath School the kids are suppose to act out and then discuss the people in authority over them. The people that are listed are: policeman, parents, soldier, babysitter, coach, teacher, grandparents, friends' parents, Then there is a discussion about such things as "How do we show respect to each of these people?" "How is the authority these people have like God's authority? How is it different? How do you feel when you are required to show respect? How do we show respect to God?" The lesson goes on as the teacher reads the story of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. And then a discussion follows, in which a question is asked. "Explain why we should not grumble about people in authority over us." The answer being "When you grumble about people in authority, you grumble against the person who put them in authority--God." Yes, I think respect and obedience is very important. We probably need to stress it more than we do! But in this day and age of abuse and child molestation and incest we had better not be giving the kids the idea that if they speak out against an adult that they are murmuring against God, since it was He who put the adults over us. Maybe I am thinking to deeply, but I think we underestimate what the kids pick up.

Junior and Teen

We have had the GraceLink curriculum in these two divisions for over a year now, and I had a hard time picking just a few things to bring to your attention.

I would like to start with a few examples from the artwork. You know the saying that "a picture paints a thousand words," These pictures can speak volumes of error in themselves.

Concerns with the Artwork

Year C - quarter 1:



Page 19: A lewd and suggestive picture of two women with one man is hanging on the wall in Samson's cell (Samson is blind, by the way!). Page 21-23 Samson is shown pulling down the temple of Dagon and he only has a few short sprigs of hair. (See PP 566."As his hair grew his power gradually returned.")

Year C - quarter 4:

Jesus, and God and the majestic heavenly beings are often made to look like new age, spiritualistic, feminine beings. Also from picture to picture Jesus is not made to look the same so until you read the text most of the time you don't even know who the character is suppose to be. Page 56: This is supposed to be Jesus in this picture.

Year C - quarter 1

Page. 13. This is also supposed to be Jesus. On pg.72 this is an angel.

Year D - quarter 2

Page 55. This is God the Father. God's throne is a giant crystal. Crystals are very much involved in new age concepts and ideas. They are supposed to be a source of power.

Year B - quarter 1

Cover Page. The pigs did not follow the prodigal son home clinging to his clothes as he ran to his father. He left the sin behind when he returned to his father. This is an error in art and in the theology it symbolizes. This picture symbolizes the thread of error that is woven into a lot of the lessons, that being: I need to do nothing to gain salvation except come to God and be loved, because God does it all. This concept has always been referred to as cheap grace.

Year C - quarter 3

Page 58-59: This picture shows Thomas sitting at a table while Jesus is standing behind him with a silly grin on his face and Jesus has his hands over Thomas's eyes. Two other disciples sit in the sidelines snickering. The entire picture is a lie. Jesus did no such thing to Thomas. John 20:26-27 states that "then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands;"

Year D - quarter 1

Page 21 shows a horrified mother on the shore of the Jordan River with the other Israelites, looking on as her naughty boy rock hops in the water ahead of the priest as the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan River. PP 483-484 states that 'the people sanctified themselves and put away their sins." And "The people had been directed to fall back, so that there was a vacant space of more than half a mile about the ark."

"Pictures (used) to represent Bible scenes must be no cheap design… A proper illustration of Bible scenes requires talent of a superior quality. With these cheap, common productions, the sacred lessons of the Bible disdain comparison" Ms 23, 1896, p.1

Concerns with the Text

What I have seen done over and over in these lessons is what you might call fictionalization of the Bible stories. Characters and names are added as if it were fact and written in such a way that it is hard to know which part is real and which is made up by the writer.

"The Bible lessons which are taught in our schools are of far greater consequence than many now discern. These children will have to meet in the near future the heresies and fables that abound in the Christian world. Instruct the youth with simplicity but with great thoroughness. Our work must stand the test of the judgment. The youth in this age must be fitted by the grace of Christ to meet and overcome evils, which have been introduced into society… The supporters of error and of unscriptural doctrines are numerous. The world at large is leading them to forget God and to despise his claims. The law of God is trampled beneath unholy feet. Every youth is responsible to God for His opportunities, and for the precious light shining upon him from the scriptures"--Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 36

These first three are good examples of fictionalization.

1. Year C - quarter 1, Lessons FIVE and SIX.



These lessons are about John the Baptist. Both these lessons are almost complete fabrications. Yes, John lived in the wilderness and preached. He lived a very plain lifestyle and he was a voice in the wilderness to prepare the way for Jesus. But nowhere in the Bible or S.O.P. do we find anything that even hints that he mentored a young man while in the wilderness. This imaginary person is instructed in spiritual matters in lesson Five and given lessons in the laws of health in lesson Six. We are going to have the kids thinking this really happened.

[Our note: This represents the asceticism of the 4th century, which eventually led to monasticism and its attendant corruptions]

2. Year A - quarter 3, Lesson TWO.

This entire lesson is a fictitious tale of King Solomon and Rehoboam. It tells of them taking their horses and riding out for a picnic. It goes into great detail about their day together. The entire lesson is dreamed up in someone's imagination to make the kids want to read Proverbs 22:1-5 and hopefully help them understand the meaning of these five verses.

3. Year D quarter 1

Page 33. This Lesson is about Jesus as a child. I know from SOP that Jesus older brothers were not always kind to him but I have never thought that Jesus grew up in a dysfunctional home, "With an inner pool of tears a hollow place that love from family should have filled" as is implied in the lesson. DA 87 says Jesus loved His brothers and treated them with unfailing kindness….and on pg. 90 "The life of Christ was marked with respect and love for His mother." The lesson implies that he spent time with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their home because they filled a void left by his own family. And that Lazarus was like an older brother to him. The SOP and the Bible states that Jesus spent time in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus but I have never heard it stated that this was because he had such a terrible home life. And where does it say that Lazarus was older than Jesus?

4. Year A - quarter 3, Lesson FOURTEEN

This lesson is about the gift of the Sabbath. You really need to read this one word for word to get the whole picture. But in summery, the author of this lesson degraded a beautiful story with a lot of cheap, flippant talk. Adam and Eve ask God so many trivial questions, that God has to interrupt. Adam apologizes to the Lord for getting so carried away. Adam knew nothing of the word "sorry" or its related words, for sin had not entered Eden yet. Eve asks the Lord to explain to her what children and grandchildren are. God replies that He will talk to her about that later, implying to the reader that Eve has a lesson about the "birds and the bees" coming after the Sabbath. The lesson concludes by saying that Adam needs to do nothing for the Sabbath day except "be loved" by God. Not once is the Sabbath identified as the seventh day of the week. Instead the lesson infers, that the Sabbath started a day after Adam and Eve were created. Not true. The Sabbath came only hours after they were created. Friday at sunset is the beginning of Sabbath.

I have given you some examples of the suggested activities for Sabbath School time in the other divisions. Let me just mention a few activities that go along with this lesson on the Sabbath. They have three suggested activities to choose from. One is stand in a circle while you read a list of things one might do on Sabbath. The kids are to put their right foot in if they think it is ok to do or put their left foot in if it is not. The list covers all sorts of controversial issues, which would more than likely cause an obvious divide between the conservative and liberal families.

The Next activity is to have the kids use boxes and wrapping paper and art supplies to create a gift that would symbolize the Sabbath. When they are done the teacher is suppose to ask them " How did it feel to think like God?" Thinking like God is a very new age concept. It is very much like getting in touch with the God in each of us. How close do we really want to go to that idea?

The third thing you can do is divide in teams and play "capture the gift." You just use a gift box instead of a flag and modify the rules to capture the flag enough to be able to play it indoors. When the game is done then you are to ask, "How did it feel to compete for the gift? How is this like the way God must feel when we don't celebrate the Sabbath? What are some things that steal the Sabbath gift from us?"

Then to experience the story the teacher can read the creation story from the bible while they play soft music in the background and have the kids close their eyes relax and visualize. Again this is very new age.

There is a discussion about how it might be better to use some other word than keeping the Sabbath. Perhaps celebrating, observing, honoring, or remembering. They say celebrating sounds more festive. Then throughout the remainder of the lesson celebrating is the primary term used.

The last activity is having the kids create a Sabbath slogan by thinking up some TV advertisement slogan that they could put Sabbath with. I suppose something like "Sabbath; good to the last drop"(I made that one up). When they are done you ask how did it feel to think of Sabbath as we think of a popular product? Why is it important to have a good attitude about celebrating Sabbath? How will these slogans help you appreciate Sabbath more? I do not see how thinking about a bunch of worldly products would help us at all. I think it would only distract from the Sabbath.

"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 58:13,14

I hope that this has been helpful to you in seeing some of the errors in this material. I pray that the Lord will lead you in finding material to use in your Sabbath schools that is Bible based and Doctrinally sound. Our church has made the decision to cancel all GraceLink-related material and use alternative material. I spent quite a bit of time searching for material to use that we felt was appropriate. My sister has also struggled with the GraceLink material and has given me a few suggestions for alternatives. The following list is a combination of both of our searches. These are all good alternatives to the GraceLink material.

Alternative Sabbath School Options

1. Betty and Lester Ortner

Sun World Graphics

P. O. Box 8336

Phone: 909-687-4824

SUMMARY : Mr. and Mrs. Ortner have been working with the production of Sabbath School materials for nearly 37 years. They have worked very closely with the GC for many years. They produce mission stories and their accompanying felts, nature attendance devices, name tags, geographical sketches for the quarterly mission projects, theme devises for Cradle Roll, Kindergarten and Primary levels, program helps and VBS material. Their material has been carried for years through our ABC's. Their products are very traditional and provide an option to the new Gracelink programs. Currently they sell through the Southeastern California Conference ABC @ 909-359-5800, or you may order directly from them at the above address. Direct orders receive a 25% discount. Their catalog contains hundreds of traditional S.S. items that would lighten any Sabbath School teacher's work load.

  • Kid's Ministries Press

P. O. Box 431

Susanville, CA 96130

Phone: 877-257-1616

Fax: 877-257-1613

Email: kidsministries@citlink.net

Summary: This ministry supplies Sabbath School material to over 2000 churches in N. America. You may order their material through any ABC in N. America, or you may order directly. This press is an excellent source of alternative material for any S.S including alternative lesson material. They provide memory verse devises, and lesson helps that coordinate with the GC material in subject matter on the Cradle Roll through Jr. levels. They also are providing memory verse devices that will go along with the new My Bible First lessons produced by Phil Mills. (see next item). KMP produces an alternate Jr./ET lesson that follows the same story and memory verse, which is found in the GraceLink. To date, KMP has been working on alternative lessons for the Beginners.



  • My Bible First

P. O. Box 495

Kechi, KS 67067

Phone: 316-744-2593

Email: prmills@earthlink.net

Website: www.mybiblefirst.homestead.com

Or: www.threeangels.org/mybiblefirst.html

Summary: This material is geared for the kindergarten through primary level. The art work is "Harry Anderson" style. It is being carried by the ABC's of the Florida, Potomac, Idaho, and George-Cumberland Conferences as well as by Amazing Facts. The following is a letter from the producers themselves explaining their material.



Thank you for your interest. I am responding for my wife, Sherry. She is the overall organizational coordinator of the children's departments in our Sabbath school.

We are quite excited about My Bible First, a weekly full-color lesson aid designed to assist parents of kindergarten and primary age with their daily family worships. It covers the entire Bible sequentially from Genesis to Revelation in a three-year period. It was written by Amy Sherrard, a vigorously active 84 year old, retired missionary who worked for years developing child evangelism programs for the church in the Philippines/Far Eastern Division.

It is faithful to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and emphasizes important character qualities needed by younger members of God's family. The lessons are interesting with thought questions included to assist the parents with discussion. Attractive, colorful, and realistic artwork is utilized and a short mission story, nature story, or health story with character value is also included weekly. The printed memory verse selection comes from the popular New King James Version, but other versions could be substituted, of course.

It is also useful as an outreach to non-Adventist with a special version planned to assist in child evangelism. Some parents and grandparents who have seen it are sponsoring for family members who live in other localities. Amazing Facts has contacted us and may be a distributor in the near future.

The cost is $8.50/quarter or $34/year, which makes it less expensive than the combined cost of a quarterly and Our Little Friend or a quarterly and the Primary Treasure. Since this is a missionary venture, the cost is purposely kept low.

We have been overwhelmed by the response. We simply started this to meet a need for the members of our church to assist them in their family worships. Several churches are now utilizing it for their kindergarten and primary Sabbath schools. We send it to any children missing and it has been useful in follow up for the children.

We have seen God's hand in making this available to meet the spiritual needs for our local congregation as we are held accountable for instructing our children thoroughly in the Word of God. We have seen God's hand in many miracles in producing this but I believe this letter is long enough and I won't bore you with the details so thrilling to us!



We hope to have a sample on the web soon, but would be happy to mail an issue to you if you request.

Phil

  • B. J. K. Triplets

E. Cameron Rd.

Spangle, WA 99031

Phone and Fax 509-245-3222

Email: bjktriplets.com

Website: www.bjktriplets.com

Summary: Jim Triplet has been working at producing quality Sabbath School felts and teaching aids for our churches and ABC's since the 70's. His material is available at any ABC around the country (but you must ask for it sometimes.) , and it is usually on the Sabbath School standing order forms. BJK's catalog of products has over 6000 items in felts alone. Mr. Triplet has produces theme devices for Cradle Roll through Early Teens for years. He has produced some "black and white" lessons for the Jr. age that can be photo copied for the students in your class.

Here are some excerpts from a letter written by Terri Prouty who works for BJK.

"Over the past nearly 20 years, they (BJK) have kept some of the manuscript material from the G.C. Last summer we went through all the Primary and Junior materials and compiled two series for each division that included theme devices, programs, and as much lesson and teachers' materials as we could put together. Since they had already done theme devices for the programs, it was a matter of putting lessons with the themes.

The Primary material is simpler, in that most of the students' lessons were included in the Primary Treasure on a weekly basis. We wanted to keep with the idea of going through the Bible stories in a consecutive and orderly manner. One thing I personally dislike about the GraceLink lessons is the way they jump around--not only from Old Testament to New, but within the lifetime of one Bible character. I've been told that these lessons are supposed to target children who don't know much, if anything, about the Bible. In which case, I would find it very confusing to really grasp the life of many of the major Bible heroes like Paul, Moses, Joseph, and especially Jesus.



I can tell you what I am including in the material. Each memory verse is provided in KJV and NIV. Many lessons have at least a portion of the Bible story written in what I hope is an interest-catching way. There are also questions to answer. Some are factual look-up-the-answer questions, and some are designed to generate a little more thought (I hope I'm not trying to get too detailed for Junior age kids, while still giving Teens something to think about). The lessons are designed to be studied the week ahead. (That was the biggest complaint we had about the "GraceLink" programs.) I've kept the concept of journaling, which was introduced in the lessons a few years ago, as I think it's an important study tool.

Because the lesson and teaching materials are provided at little cost with the programs, there hasn't been any budget for artwork, so the problem of the cartoon-style illustrations is eliminated. It would be nice if the kids' lessons could have pictures, but at this point, the money for that isn't happening."

  • Country Garden School Resource Center

P. O. Box 6

College Place, WA 99324

Phone: 509-525-8143

Fax: 509-522-2448

Email: cgsrc@g0highspeed.com

Summary: This is a great resource center for both school and Sabbath School supplies. Ask for their Sabbath School order form, if you want S.S. supplementary material. They sell Theme devices for babies through teens. Their program helps, called "As Jesus Taught" (AJT) , have been around for almost 20 years, and are sold at a number of ABC's nationwide. These folks are ASI members and have displayed their materials at the General Conference session in 1990, 1995 and 2000. They also sell study guides to books such as "Acts of the Apostles", " Story of Redemption" and "Christ's Object Lessons".

  • Hazel's Helping Hand

P. O. Box 650

Georgetown, CA 95634

Phone: 530-333-9798

Fax: 530-333-2156

Summary: Hazel Todd has produced Sabbath School material for nearly three decades. She has worked closely with the G.C. Sabbath School Dept. for years. Hazel has traveled extensively giving S.S. workshops. She is now helping to produce an alternate program for Cradle Roll age children that runs parallel to the G.C. material. Mrs. Todd is authoring a quarterly packet called, "Illustrated Beginners' Lesson and Program Guides" which will be available only through Kid's Ministry Press. These packets follow the new cycle of the Beginners' lessons as outlined by the G.C. She is also preparing a quarterly home worship packet, which is a follow up to the S.S. program. It is priceless material for parents of pre-school children. This packet will only be available through Kid's Ministry Press. Nothing is produced from Hazel's ministry that is not realistic, (no cartoons). She specializes in tiny tot material. The book, "Tested Teaching Techniques for Tiny Tots" is now available and can be ordered directly from her.

  • Little Fold Visuals

P. O. Box 14243

Palm Desert, CA 92255

Phone: 800-537-7227

Fax: 800-360-7775

Website: www.littlefolkvisuals.com

Betty Lukens

P. O. Box 2407

Rohnert Part, CA 94927

Phone: 800-541-9279

Fax: 800-705-8225

Website: www.bettylukens.com

Email: info@bettylukens.com

Summary: These two companies produce the Bible in Felts that we have used for years in our Sabbath Schools and which have been sold in all our ABC's. There is the three year cycle that runs along with our S.S. lessons. The manual has the Bible stories printed as they are written in the old quarterlies (pre-Gracelink). I am told that they carry Ellen White stories in felt as well as Daniel and Revelation in felt. Specify that you want SDA material. These ladies sell to many non-SDA persons, so if you want material specific to our Adventist beliefs, you must state that.

  • Young Disciple Magazine

P. O. Box 400

Inchelium, WA 99138

Phone: 509-722-4300

Fax: 509-722-4304

Email: info@youngdisciple.com

Website: www.YoungDisciple.com

Summary: This is a Junior level magazine that contains a daily Bible study guide and a few character building stories. There is an issue per week @ a subscription cost of $36.00/year. The ministry was started about 10 years ago by Janet Evert, an SDA mother and Jr. leader in California. Young Disciple Ministries is a member of ASI and has an excellent working relationship with the local church and Conference. Its materials, including Young Disciple Magazine, are carried by several ABC's. I am aware of many churches across the country using YD in place of the GraceLink lesson.

  • Revelation Publications

P. O. Box 700

Tontitown, AR 72770

Email: Rohm@juno.com

Website: www.revelationofhymn.com

Summary: This ministry is producing beautiful study guides to the books "Steps to Christ" and "Christ's Object Lessons". They are recommended for age 12 and up. These guides were advertised in the May 2001 issue of the Adventist Review (NAD edition) on page 5. You can obtain them from your local ABC or directly from the above address. The art work is beautifully realistic and the guides are about the size of an adult S.S. quarterly. Their price is $2.49 each.

  • Amazing Facts

P. O. Box 1058

Roseville, CA 95678

Phone: 916-434-3880

Website: www.amazingfacts.org

Summary: Amazing Facts has a great set of Bible studies that is Junior/Early Teen level. They are called Storacles of Prophecy and are written by Doug Batchelor. This is a set of 24 lessons and they cover the fundamental beliefs of the SDA church. I have been informed by the producers of "My Bible First" that Amazing Facts will soon be selling the "My Bible First" publication.



  • Trim Your Lamps Ministries

P. O. Box 174

Apison, TN 37302

Phone: 706-936-5562

Email: wildflower_mj@juno.com

Summary: This ministry produces a set of eight study guides that accompany "Messages to Young People". The guides contain thirteen lessons each, with daily lesson activities. There is a short reading assignment and three questions per day for the student to answer from the assigned reading and the scriptures. At the end of two years the student will have read through the entire MYP. Margaret Jordan, author, wrote these lessons in a simple, easy to understand format. Age level: 10 and up.

  • Laymen Ministries News

LMN Publishing International

HC 4 Box 94-C

St. Maries, ID 83861

Phone: 800-245-1844

Email: lmnpubint@nidlink.com

Summary: Write and ask LMN for anything they have on S.S. material. They have a catalog of their products. They have some great reprinted mission stories and character building stories. Ask to speak with Terri Prouty. She is helping to write Sabbath School material for the Junior level.

  • Homeward Bound

Truth for Today

tftuk@aol.com

The Homeward Bound booklets are looking at present truth from a child's perspective. The theme is that this earth with all its trappings is not our real home but that we are making for the city whose maker and builder is God and that we are but pilgrims and strangers here. The first quarter was on the subject of the Word of God, and its faithfulness and reliability, how we should show it reverence, how it takes us like a guidebook on our way Home. There are pictures to color, texts to look up, and something to learn each week. The themes have been appreciated by new adult Adventists too, who have not heard all the filling in bits and seen how everything fits together. We had to do a re-print for adults! They are best received by children between ages 7-11, and are best studied with parents or older children in the family, so that the significance of the lessons is absorbed as they do not talk down to children. The full purpose is to help young people see what is important about being a Seventh-Day Adventist and how the Truth is firmly Bible based and what our purpose is in the world.

The next quarter is about Creation, the days of Creation on a simple level, but also what it means to have the Creator as our God in these last days. How there is one truth but many errors. They have been written as if I were teaching a children's class and are quite 'every day' in style and illustration, but do not talk down to children in any way. They are not glossy presentations, but truth filled.

The quarter that is being prepared now is about the Snares of Satan and dare in preparation now. These lessons will show how the supernatural is for real! And how to avoid the temptations of Satan.

  • Hartland Publications

P. O. Box 1

Rapidan, VA 22733

Phone: 540-672-3566

Email: sales@hpcatalog.com

Website: www.hpcatalog.com

Summary: Hartland Publications has material that is very useful, with reprints of history, many of them written for young people, especially about our protestant heritage and the Reformation. They have many children's and youth materials, books, etc., as well as material for adults, that would be useful and practical for Sabbath Schools, Home Schools and general use.

[Our next transmission will include an email from one of those responsible for GraceLink, and a report of a meeting held in the Northeast part of America with some of those responsible for the GraceLink theology, and format. Stay tuned].