Seven lessons/stories, with activities for each, to help children, youth, and adults in congregations, families, and schools explore and experience Jesus’ teaching on seeing—and serving—God with the hungry, thirsty, stranger, poor, sick, and imprisoned.
Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?
In Through the Lens...
- a camera helps us frame the subject
- a telescope opens a range of possibilities
- a magnifying glass enlarges our view
- a periscope lets us see around barriers
- a pair of glasses guides us to choose the best focus
- a microscope allows us to identify the need
- binoculars serve to extend our vision.
Through the Lens combines several themes: a variety of lenses that help improve our vision, a Bible story about people focusing on faith, and a frame on Jesus’ teachings that helps us see and serve God. Using a theme serves like a lens—focusing participants on something tangible to bring to life an intangible concept.
Activities used in church, home, and school provide many ways for children, youth, and adults to learn both how we see the world around us and how we see God. Merging the study of how light moves through lenses and the study of the “When-did-we-see-you?” verses of Matthew 25 provides opportunities for meaningful conversations—both about living life in light of scientific truths and living life in the light of faith. The real world focus on lenses provides a construct for shining a light—literally—on the spiritual focus of where and how we see God. The study challenges participants to find their own answer, then, to the ultimate question – “How do we serve God?”
PCUSA Matthew 25 Initiative
This is the perfect resource to support the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Matthew 25 initiative.
To understand how it connects with different aspects of the initiative, explore this document.
New social justice resource inspires children and adults to live out Matthew 25 (Presbyterian News Service)
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The Pastoral Center
ANNA LIECHTY taught English to high school students and served as adjunct faculty for Indiana University South Bend for many years. Anna also worked as a mentor trainer and teacher coach with adult learners for the Indiana Department of Education. She won numerous educational classroom grants, including the Eli Lilly Teacher Creativity grant.
As a life-long church educator, Anna worked with all age levels, directing Sunday morning and youth programming, consulting with congregations about their educational ministry, and writing a wide variety of religious education materials. She served as Vice President of Active Learning Associates and co-authored four Lilly Worship Renewal grants.
Anna’s undergraduate degree is from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and her Master’s degree from Indiana University South Bend. She was certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts.
In retirement, Anna continues to pursue a variety of writing projects, receiving an Individual Artist Grant in Literature from the Indiana Arts Commission. Now living in Florida, Anna enjoys traveling with her husband Page Foster, a retired pastor, and counting the days between visits with six children, twelve grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
As a religious educator, PHYLLIS VOS WEZEMAN has served as Director of Christian Nurture at a downtown congregation in South Bend, Indiana; Executive Director of the Parish Resource Center of Michiana; and Program Coordinator for ecumenical as well as interfaith organizations in Indiana and Michigan.
In academics, Phyllis has been Adjunct Faculty in the Education Department at Indiana University South Bend and in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She is an "Honorary Professor" of the Saint Petersburg (Russia) State University of Pedagogical Art where she has taught methods courses for extended periods on several occasions. She has also been guest lecturer at the Shanghai Teachers College in China.
As founder of the not-for-profit Malawi Matters, Inc., she develops and directs HIV & AIDS Education programs with thousands of volunteers in 200 villages and more than 1,500 schools in Malawi, Africa including “Creative Methods of HIV & AIDS Education,” “Culture & HIV-AIDS,” and “Equipping Women/ Empowering Girls.”
Author or co-author of over 2,000 articles and books, she has written for over 80 publishers.
Phyllis served as President of Active Learning Associates, Inc.; a consultant or board member to numerous local and national organizations such as the American Bible Society, Church World Service, LOGOS, and the Peace Child Foundation; leader of a six- week youth exchange program to Russia and Ukraine; and Project Director for four Lilley Worship Renewal grants. She is the recipient of three “Distinguished Alumni Awards," the Aggiornamento Award from the Catholic Library Association, and the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE).
Wezeman holds undergraduate degrees in Business, Communications, and General Studies from various institutions and an MS in Education from Indiana University South Bend.
Phyllis and her husband Ken (who met when they were in second and third grade in elementary school) have three children and their spouses, Stephanie (Jeff), David, and Paul (Deha); five grandchildren, Quin, Ayle, Lief, Ashley, and Jacob; and two great-grandsons, Maddox and Troy.