Carissa Herold, Presbyterian Women marketing associate, offers her introductory thoughts on Who Is Jesus? What a Difference a Lens Makes.
One of the many, many, many blessings of working for you is that we, your staff, are happily immersed in all things Presbyterian Women, during most of our waking hours! Okay, so we do take time out for the occasional donut (or two) and brief water-cooler conversation around our new book club pick or weather complaints (e.g., I forgot my umbrella again!), but mostly, we spend our weekdays (and many weekends) thinking of Presbyterian Women. So here’s a bit of inside scoop that may help you and your circle make the most of your journey through Who Is Jesus? What a Difference a Lens Makes:
- It’s worth noting again and again that PW/Horizons Bible study themes and authors are selected by a Bible study committee of the Churchwide Coordinating Team. In other words, Horizons Bible studies are PW studies. It’s also worth nothing (again and again) that manuscripts are thoroughly field-tested by PW groups from across the country. See page 109 of the English and Spanish studies (p. 183 in the large print) for a list of the “dedicated women and men who served as field testers for” this study. And make no mistake, the comments and suggestions that arise from the field testers’ good work are shared with the author and editor, who in turn, rethink and rework the manuscript. Of course, just like the subtitle of this study suggests, each of us responds to studies in our own unique way: what a difference a lens makes, indeed! Since this study (and all Horizons studies) is the result of a democratic, Holy Spirit-led process, please freely share your thoughts (even if you aren’t a field tester) at any time! But please continue your PW journey with Horizons Bible studies. These are your studies.
- I’m PW’s marketing associate, right? So I just have to be me! Here is a list of Bible study versions and helps (some free, some for purchase) that are available to you:
- The Bible study is available in regular print (item HZN16100, $8.00); large print (HZN16150, $12.00; with a nifty spiral binding); Spanish (HZN16110, $8.00); audio (slightly abridged, no suggestions for leaders, item HZN16172, $15.00, purchase online at http://store.pcusa.org); and even an ecumenical edition (HZN16102, $8.00).
- Judy Siker is an amazing presenter and you can bring Judy to your study via the Who Is Jesus? Companion DVD (item HZN16103, $20.00). In each video presentation, she introduces each lesson of the study—about 8 to 12 minutes per lesson. What an amazing way to bring the study to your circle in Harrisonburg, Hot Springs, Hattiesburg, and Honolulu! (The DVD also includes downloadable printable material as an extra bonus!)
- Tucked inside each study is a promotional poster; on the front of the poster is the cover of the study, in this case the photomosaic art by Robert Silvers entitled The Living Jesus. See pages 8–10 of the study to learn about the art. (I am a self-avowed crazy animal lady, so I really appreciate seeing up close the many images of God’s creation in Mr. Silver’s art. Now that’s an amazing lens, indeed!) The second side of the poster includes much of the information I am sharing here. Order an additional poster or two (item HZN16410, free) to display on a bulletin board or in a creative way!
- Other free downloads include a bulletin cover and the Workshop for Leaders (also available as a printed piece, item HZN16101, free).
- Additional Bible study resources are available in Horizons magazine and are only available to Horizons magazine subscribers or individual magazine purchasers. This is a very clever way to encourage subscriptions. For just $24.95, you can receive a one-year subscription to Horizons, receive next year’s Bible study as part of your subscription (mailed in March 2017), digital access to the magazine and magazine archives, and Bible study helps for Who Is Jesus?, which begin with the July/August 2016 issue! Call toll free 866/802-3635 or visit www.presbyterianwomen.org to subscribe.
- Each year art from the study is chosen to feature on a charm/pendant. This year’s pendant (item HZN16300, $10.00) features the art of Cree artist Ovide Joseph Bighetty, entitled Because He Lives, We Can Face Tomorrow, found in Lesson Six. Beautiful.
The Workshop for Leaders
This year’s Workshop for Leaders was written by Mertie Woolcock, an experienced Bible study leader from the presbytery of West Virginia. In her workshop, Mertie suggests exploring the theme, what a difference a lens makes, through two exercises that are eye-opening! Download or order the Workshop for Leaders (see above for ordering information) and give them a try!
Exploring the study
You will find a wealth of information packed within the 112 pages of the study (plus covers). I suggest taking a few minutes to acquaint yourself and your Bible study participants with the many features of this study. The table of contents and introduction to the study provide a handy map for exploration. But like all good tour directors, I want to share a few favorite destinations:
- Page one: Information about the author (Judy Yates Siker) and the Suggestions for Leaders author (Patricia Lynn Miller). The handy postcard that is stitched into this page can be mailed to receive a trial issue of Horizons magazine; the second half of the card (you can find it by turning to the last page/inside back cover) offers a special subscription rate of $19.95 for Horizons magazine.
- Page 11: Things to Look for in the Study is concise and helpful. Since Judy suggests keeping a journal, space is allotted at the conclusion of each lesson for just this exercise.
- Pages 96 through 105: Worksheets! Need I say more? And yes, there’s an answer key, too!
- Suggestions for Leaders section at the conclusion of each lesson: Lynn Miller’s Suggestions for Leaders are truly inspired. (Did you know that Lynn designed the Honorary Life Membership pin? She is a very creative, faithful woman!) She arranges her suggestions in a similar format for each lesson so you can comfortably think through how to present the material.
- Inside back cover: It’s back by popular demand: the two-year calendar! This is a handy tool for making note of circle meetings and other church-related doings.
Join your PW sisters as we study together this year to discover: