Review: Reformation Overview

Reformation Overview, including video tapes, leaders' guides, and resources, is published by Creative Communications for the Parish. Ordering information is below.

Al Bailey is retired in Simcoe ON, having served the Presbyterian Church in Canada as pastor, educator, and administrator. The following is written with information from Judy MacIntosh.

How can you pass on knowledge of our Reformation heritage to new generations? That was answered in one way by St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Simcoe, Ontario, by purchasing a kit with the above title. The compact kit consists of two videotapes containing six half-hour segments, a Leader's Guide with suggestions for at least five flexible ways of developing the programs, and printed resources for each.

St. Paul's has used the material in two ways so far under the guidance of their then Christian Education Director, Judy MacIntosh. The first was a noon-hour series with participants invited to bring a bag lunch. There were about a dozen or more taking part (including two retired pastors) and all felt they benefitted greatly from the series. A printed outline of each subject was provided beforehand and discussion followed the video presentation.

The second was with a teen class on Sunday mornings prior to Reformation Sunday, when the service was prepared and conducted by the young folk with one of their leaders giving the Reformation message. The material held their interest throughout. While the first series was simply video-discussion, the second included Bible study of the themes. This is part of the flexibility of the program.

The material is historically and theologically sound, prepared for the Christian History Institute of Worcester, PA. The six programs on the tapes are: 1. John Wycliffe, 2. John Hus, 3. Martin Luther, 4. Swiss Reformation: Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, 5. The Anabaptists: Michael and Margaretha Sattler, 6. William Tyndale. They are excerpted from longer films of the Gateway Films/Vision Video Church History Filmseries, except the fourth which was created for this series.

Concise background information provides new perspectives for all but the learned Reformation scholar, yet is readily readable and understandable by the beginner. There is a caution to not use the resources as a diatribe against Roman Catholicism with a brief summary of basic Christian beliefs we hold in common, but it also provides an outline of items of disagreement. Each segment has a single page double-sided summary to hand out for study before and/or to help with discussion after the video, and/or as a "take home" paper, and a Bible Study Student Worksheet for the optional Bible Study, with permission for duplicating either as needed.

The kit can be obtained through Creative Communications for the Parish, 1564 Fencort Dr., Fenton, MO, USA 63026, or by calling 1-800-325-9414, identifying yourself as calling from Canada, and asking for Reformation Overview, Catalogue #R65. The price is currently $79.95 US, and they will give you the equivalent Canadian cost including shipping and handling. The same can be obtained by FAX at 636-305-9333, or order online from