Whether you call it Sunday school, faith formation or Christian education, one aspect of a congregation’s life together is how we nurture faith in people of all ages. Last spring, with the coming of the COVID-19 restrictions, many churches saw drastic changes in their faith education programs.
The year of the coronavirus pandemic saw everyone spending more time at home, and many paying increased attention to their bookshelves. We asked CommonWord, the bookstore and resource centre of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, what people read in 2020. In-store and curbside pickup sales and loans across Canada have declined, says Arlyn Friesen Epp, CommonWord’s director. But online orders have increased significantly, making the staff busier than ever.
While Mennonites across Canada and the United States eagerly await the arrival of the new hymnal, Voices Together, hundreds of online worship resources are already accessible to them through a brand new website that launched in November.
CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities.