Churches introduce GIFT

Sunday School program to restore parents as primary faith teachers

Luthern Church of Grace and Saint Marks Episcopal Church are introducing a new take on the old Sunday School to kick off the new year. It is called Generations In Faith Together. The program is designed to include adults, children and toddlers.

The goal of the interactive program is to spawn a Christian education reform that restores parents as primary faith teachers, mentors and role models for their children. The church itself serves as reinforcement, not replacement, of parental duties.

The GIFT program starts at 9 a.m., Jan. 7.

It is open to both congregations and to people in the community. There is no charge for the program, which will be offered every Sunday at Saint Marks Episcopal Church, 657 Green Street.

Program directors are Gay Albers and Nancy Muldoon.

They and other team members were recently trained to guide the program by Faith Inkubators representative Debbie Streicher, a Luthern from Washington, D.C.

"The largest impact I have seen happens with parents and children. The sharing of highs and lows and building relationships based on faith is amazing," Streicher said. "Recognition of the home as a primary center for nurture and support is a key element."

GIFT was started about 11 years ago as a Luthern ministry by a group called Faith Inkubators, and is being used by multi-denominational congregations across the United States. A visit to its Web site, www.faithlink.com/Inkubators/gift.asp, will give more information about the program. For more information about the local program, call Pastor Jim Strader at 824-3470.

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