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Church invited to open the doors for celebration of Sunday school

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Carol Krau
June 23, 2006

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—Spruce up the place and put out the welcome mat—the United Methodist Church is having an “open house” during the month of September.

Igniting Ministry, the denomination’s national television and welcoming campaign, works with bishops to encourage congregations to celebrate United Methodist Open House Month each September. This year, Sunday school is joining the welcoming wagon.

“Sunday School continues to be a fruitful and powerful time of forming faith and building friendships,” said Harriett Olson, senior vice president with the United Methodist Publishing House. “It’s easy to forget that we need to offer regular invitations to children, youth and adults who are not already part of a class.

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A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose

September is Open House Month for the United Methodist Church and a time for Sunday school classes to reach out for new members.

“An Open House can remind the congregations to do just that. It can also be a platform for starting new classes and building on the congregation’s work in on-going faith formation,” she added.

According to the Igniting Ministry Web site, “Hosting special events, worship festivals or making other efforts to welcome those in your community present perfect opportunities to intentionally recognize Christ in everyone -- and to remember that guests may look for Christ in us.”

Carol Krau, a director at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, has prepared some planning ideas for celebrating open houses for Sunday school:

  • Select a date in September to celebrate Open House Month and get the date on the church calendar.
  • Plan the open house to introduce members of the congregation and community to the Sunday school classes and small groups available to them.
  • Encourage members of the congregation to invite friends to the open house celebration and to Sunday school.
  • Identify one or more new classes that can begin in September.
  • Celebrate the ministry of Christian education with resources available at
  • Remember that Christian education happens in many settings on any day of the week.

“Open House may be on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening or another time when congregations gather for worship and study,” Krau said. “Consider scheduling some classes at more than one time so more people can participate. Schedule some classes or small groups in homes or other community locations.”

September is not the only time to provide entry points to Sunday school, Olson pointed out. Some other ideas are to provide opportunities during Lent, Advent or as a New Year’s resolution.

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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