Category Archives: Christian Education

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(written by Rev. Brian Rude, Canadian pastor serving in El Salvador since the 1980s, shared here with permission)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights   

10 December 2018
Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV)

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today — click here — in El Salvador, we commemorate the most horrific massacre in contemporary Latin American history, 37 years ago. Almost 1,000 cilvilians, mostly women and children and seniors, were slaughtered in mid-December, 1981 in El Mozote, as well as hundreds more in the vicinity, in rural eastern El Salvador.
The El Mozote massacre was denied by the Reagan and Bush administrations–“fake news”. In fact, far from being fake, or even foreign, news, it was conducted by military trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, and was funded by USAn tax dollars. More than a decade later, the “fake news” was proven to be reality by Argentinian forensic scientists and the UN. It was documented in a comprehensive book by Mark Danner soon after the forensic findings were revealed by the UN.
Almost four decades–two generations–of impunity is just beginning to be challenged, and hopefully overturned, a long-overdue process documented by Tim Muth: .
While this massacre stands out for being so massive, it is not isolated. It shares Advent, the season of hope for Jesus-followers, with the assassination of the four US church women in El Salvador, 2 December, 1980. It shares Advent with the slaughter of fourteen female engineering students at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Québec, Canada.
In El Salvador, and globally, we still long for the comprehensive implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While 70 years may have brought some recognition, even some implementation and advancement, in the realm of human rights, there remains such a monumental challenge ahead of us, as anyone following the daily news is too well aware.
May we forge ever onward in this struggle for full respect for all human rights for the entire human family and for all of creation!
Paz con justicia,

Rev. Brian Rude, DD
“In Mission with El Salvador” / “En Misión con El Salvador”
Synod of Alberta and the Territories, ELCICanada

Resources available in Canada!!

Living the Questions DVD curricula for progressive Christian Adult Education! (see further down for Daniel Erlander resources!)


Available in limited quantities:

Singing the Unsung – $45
9 sessions – featuring John Bell, designed especially for music leaders, and those interested in the revitalization of worship. See a promotional clip here.

The Jesus Fatwah – $95
5 sessions – this series features Hans Kung, Brian McLaren, Eboo Patel, Stephen Prothero, and Feisal Abdul Rauf. Get to know our Muslim neighbours, and move away from negative stereotypes sometimes perpetuated in our culture. See a promotional clip here.

Dream Think Be Do – $200
20 sessions – geared towards young adults, this series features many contributors, with themes like “Faith as Journey,” “Taking the Bible Seriously,” and “Politics.” See a promotional clip here

Note that programs are licensed for congregational use. Prices are in Canadian dollars and include regular shipping for MNO Synod congregations! (Not part of the MNO Synod? Be in touch, and we can sort out shipping to your location!)
(When these copies are gone, additional copies of these and other series can be ordered at regular prices through the Living the Questions website. Note that those prices are in $US, and do not include shipping and possible import charges.)

Looking for something to read? The book, “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity” can be ordered online!

For more information, and to place an order, email Rev. Tyler Gingrich:

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Lutheran theology and the Christian faith resources written by Lutheran (ELCA) Pastor Daniel Erlander!


Baptized We Live: Lutheranism as a Way of Life – $10

Manna and Mercy: A Brief History of God’s Unfolding Promise to Mend the Entire Universe – $15

Let the Children Come: A Baptism Manual for Parents and Sponsors – $10

A Place For You: My Holy Communion Book – $10

Water Washed and Spirit Born: A Baptism Manual for Youth and Adults – $8

Tales of the Pointless People (a collection of short stories about how we don’t need to accumulate points!) – $10

Prices are in Canadian dollars, and include shipping to congregations in the MNO Synod. Limited quantities available. To place an order, contact Rev. Tyler Gingrich:

More information, and to order in larger quantities from the US, go to Pastor Erlander’s website.

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Fling the Church Doors Open Wide
songs of Radical Welcome by David Lohman (CD) – $25
visit the Facebook page for more info


*Books, DVDs, and CDs, here, are made available to encourage their use! They are sold at nominal prices to recover cost, not to build a business.

Burying the Alleluia’s for Lent (Children’s message)

This activity is meant for Transfiguration Sunday (ideally at the end of the service) or Ash Wednesday or Lent 1 (ideally, at the start of the service).

I have typed up the words “allelujah” a few times in a few different fonts to be pasted around the worship space. The children will be invited to gather them, and then they will be ”buried” for the season of Lent.

Attached to this post, at the bottom, you should find a pdf-file with Alleluia/Hallelujah – print it out (perhaps a few times if you have lots of kids and/or a big worship space). Cut up the pages so each word can be put up separately. If your congregation is a musical one, plan a song or two – talk with your musicians! (The stand-up, sit-down Sunday School classic – “Allelu, allelu, allelu, allelu-ia! …Praise Ye the Lord!” – works well!) The picture of the rock with water coming from it (which I found in Sundays and Seasons a number of years ago – credit to Augsburg Fortress!) is supposed to be purple, and you can paste it to the outside of a medium-to-large-sized envelope. This envelope will be used to contain the paper Alleluias.

Talk with the children about the word and what it means. It comes from the Hebrew for “Praise God!” We hear it regularly in worship texts, especially ancient ones like the Psalms. We stand to sing it before the gospel reading on Sunday. And, it’ll be sung louder (and “prouder”) than ever on Easter morning! …but for the season of Lent – a time of fasting, prayer, and alms-giving – we put our Alleluias away. In a sense, we “bury” them.

So, in this moment, before we move into the solemn, contemplative season of Lent, we sing out the Alleluias one last time!

Then, gather the Alleluias from around the worship space and put them in the envelope.

The envelope of Alleluias may be placed under the altar for the season of Lent (also a reminder that we don’t sing Alleluia in Lent).

At the Easter morning service (or the Vigil, if you have one; or the Sunrise service), get the kids to “uncover” the Alleluias again – and sing them out with gusto!!

pdf-file: Alleluias