Resource for Teaching the Church Year
I had the joy of authoring the text for CPH's new illustrated introduction to the Church's year, Ordering Our Days in His Peace. It's a sequel to Scot Kinnaman's Worshiping with Angels and Archangels, which focused on the Divine Service. A third volume by Pam Nielsen, Behold the Lamb, deals with the symbolism of the Church and is due out shortly.
Each of the 48-page, heavily illustrated books in the series is aimed at providing a text accessible to older elementary students, but with enough depth to be of interest to catechumens (or folks who need catechizing) of any age. In this volume, both the Sunday and Sanctoral cycles of the Church year are introduced - along with specifics about seasonal customs, saint's days, the readings, etc.
The editor, Scot Kinnaman, has had his hand in more than one excellent resource from CPH (for example, Treasury of Daily Prayer) and it was a pleasure to work with someone of his sensibilities. You can see his faithfulness to the Church's worship in the direction he gave the artist (Arthur Kirchhoff): fully vested celebrants, traditional depictions of our Lord and his saints, etc. You'll even find altars up against the wall and nary a glass cup in sight. The book also supports good practice by focusing on things like the Easter Vigil, the rubrics for setting aside the Greater Gloria, explanations of Lenten customs etc. It's also quite catholic and would be of benefit to anyone from a church that utilizes the Church year - the only two things in the book that are Lutheran-parochial are Luther's seal in one piece of artwork and the listing of Luther in the commemorations of the Sanctoral cycle. And shucks, even Benedict XVI has kind of admitted the old boy is singing with the choir invisible.
In a work of this nature, something always gets left out and there are always compromises. For example, since the book is meant to be helpful to the whole Church, cognizance had to be taken of both the traditional Church year and the 3-year cycle. Mostly this meant leaving out details that would have been fun to include - like the progression of the traditional Lenten readings, or a paragraph about bringing your mom a cupcake on Laetare. And sometimes it meant bowing to the majority usage: the Sundays after Pentecost, blue as the color of Advent (though we got in a shout out to violet), etc.
In short, this is a book you will be happy to place into the hands of a young Lutheran - or an old Lutheran who wants to know a little bit more about why we worship the way we do. The reader will find a traditional, informative, catholic, and evangelical look at the Church's year.
(Alas, I get no royalties. But you can buy it here for $9, or $7 each on orders of 15 copies or more.)