Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"
 

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
For God So Loves the World: Peacemaking and the Care of God's Creation

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   An interactive resource that is focused on the Biblical mandate to cherish God´s creation. User-friendly material for older youth and adults. Published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
Long Description:   There are six study sessions on the care of creation. Each session is based on selected biblical passages. All participants will need a Bible.

Session 1: God creates (Gen 1:1-2.4, John 3:16 Colossians 1:15-20)
Session 2: God reveals (Ps 19, Rom 1:20, Matt 6:25-34, John 3:5-8, Lk 8:22-25, 13:18-19)
Session 3: God gives freedom (Gen 2:4-25, Job 38-42)
Session 4: God mourns the brokenness (Rom 8:18-25, Jer 7:18-28, 31)
Session 5: God offers rest and peace (Gen 2:1-3, Ex 20:8-11, Lev 25)
Session 6: God redeems (Is 40-55, Ps 104; Col 1:20, Rev 21)

Reviewed by:   Pat Townsend, a Presbyterian laywoman and college professor from New York

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Vera K. White, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Publisher:   Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Publication date:   1996 or 1997 Website for this resource:   www.pcusa.org
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Environmental Justice Resources
National Council of the Churches of Christ
PO Box 968
Elkhart, IN   46515-0968  
Phone 800-762-0968   219-264-3102 Fax 219-262-0966  
Website www.nccecojustice.org/printedresources.htm E-mail    
Price $1.45  Order # EJ 9020 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High     Adult
Optimum class size The reviewer did not comment - assume 10-20 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 6 class sessions each lasting about 60 minutes
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? No specific suggestions are given within the book, but activities within the 60 min are timed, so the leader could decide which could be omitted. Sessions are pretty much independent of each other, so the leader could skip sessions 2 and or 3, for example, and summarize the main point before going on.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? really none at all, except to bring a show and tell item to the last session.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (PCUSA). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Video
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
 

Other supportive materials provided: Could use leader´s guide or photocopy pages for students. Video and/or a/v said to be available
Other materials required:Bibles, one session needs playdough, another session pencil and paper
Description of the Leader's Guide:Very careful outline of the session, e.g. 5 min for opening prayer, 10 min for reading, 20 min for listed discussion questions etc.

After 1 or 2 leader pages come 2-4 pages for each session that can be photocopied for students if they don’t have the whole booklet. These are short essays for reading aloud and discussing, prayers, litanies, etc.

Description of the Student's Book:There is no guide, or no description was provided

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Not Necessary to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
light, really just read ahead, make sure you feel comfortable with the discussion questions 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as a primary focus  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? No, does have a few paragraphs on several issues e.g. soil, water, animal cruelty, garbage, consumption  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? Yes - as part of the topic  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
Not really, only biblical theological studies  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Other:  attempts to counter discouragement/distress re environmental degradation, replace with more positive approach
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
Probably not, though I might borrow a lot from it as opening prayers and readings for sessions with more factual/scientific or practical content on particular environmental problems. It is pretty much pure Bible study, and that on a fairly simple level for us.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
I liked that you could turn a new teacher loose with it without requiring a lot of preparation time. I agree with the content, though it doesn’t challenge or stretch anyone much.
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
I’d like to see the video “cherishing god’s creation” that is mentioned and have no idea how it would fit in with the print materials.
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
No real hook to get our adults into this as an elective, not very “sexy.” Good solid stuff, but we don’t have a ready made clientele for adult classes, we have to sell every course.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
Doesn’t have specific environmental problems/data/issues, but that keeps it from being dated. On the other hand, that would require a lot of work from the teacher to add.
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
No


Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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