In the early 1950s, the United Church of Canada decided to develop its own Sunday school curriculum that would provide material for all ages and would incorporate current biblical and theological scholarship.
The result, which rolled over the press beginning in 1962, was the United Church’s New Curriculum. It was one of the largest publishing projects ever undertaken in Canada. It was both controversial outside the United Church and within, and warmly welcomed by many. In some ways it was one of the defining moments in the United Church’s history.
The New Curriculum went out of print in the 1970s but copies of some of the books, posters and other materials can still be found in some United Church buildings. In order to preserve a record of this, and to have it available for research purposes or general interest, the decision was made to establish a New Curriculum collection in the St. Andrew’s College library. Librarian Alison Jantz was fully behind the project and library technician Katelyn Haskell stepped into it when she was hired. Thanks to them and our many donors, we have almost a full set of New Curriculum materials. A list of items still required to complete the collection be found here.
The collection was launched on the evening of Oct. 12, with Dr. Sandra Beardsall providing a lively and informative talk about the production and significance of the New Curriculum. Dr. Christine Mitchell spoke of the influence it had on her life and how, thanks in part to the New Curriculum, she became a professor of Hebrew Scriptures. Other reminiscences were offered.
The collection will be used as a teaching tool for students studying the history and theology of The United Church of Canada. As the United Church moves into a very different future, it needs to have a record of its past. The St. Andrew’s College Library New
Curriculum collection can be a small but important part of this. We are very grateful to all who donated materials and helped put the collection together.