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The Virtual Church School

The Anglican Church of Canada offers simple lectionary-based lesson plans in English and French completely online. Launched in February 2008 by the Diocese of Keewatin, the project offers year-round, lectionary-based lessons in English and French and is available for free online. The Virtual Church School curriculum has now moved to its own website.

The new site is structured to link up with the lectionary and includes updated lessons, background material, and links. There are a few new resources, including an outline for a nativity play.

Fiona Brownlee, project coordinator and lesson writer, is the brains behind the operation. A seasoned educator and curriculum writer, Ms. Brownlee has written three years’ worth of lessons to correspond with the Revised Common Lectionary. Michel Gagnon, a lay reader in the Diocese of Montreal, translates all lessons into French.

Dozens of churches across Canada use this material, including many smaller rural and isolated parishes—from the Arctic to the Prairies. Virtual Church School lessons are designed to be easy to read and plan, with few extra resources needed.

“I think it’s important to encourage all parishes to continue with a Christian education ministry, even if they don’t have the ability to buy more expensive curriculum resources,” said Ms. Brownlee.

Begun with Advent 1 for Year B (2011) and still under construction, with Year C (beginning Advent 1, December 2, 2012 still to be added), each Sunday has a downloadable (pdf form) plan that includes:

  • Preparation
  • Gathering
  • Storytime
  • Response – usually 3 simple art activities
  • Closing

This resource makes a great last-minute lesson when in a pinch, supplemental ideas for activities if you are using a lectionary-based curriculum, or a go-to resource if in a small congregation with a few children in a one-room classroom model.

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