Northern church receives Bible teaching aids

Published October 1, 2008

Priscilla Copeland displays some of the biblical figures in the flannelgraph collection shipped in crates to the Church of St. John the Evangelist in northern Quebec.

A historic collection of felt cut-outs of characters from the Bible once used for Bible study schools in the diocese of Ottawa has been passed on as a gift to a tiny First Nations community near the shores of Lake Mistissini, Que.

The large collection of flannelgraph figures was packed in several heavy wooden crates and shipped off this summer to the Church of St. John the Evangelist, located on the eastern border of the diocese of Moosonee and about half way between James Bay and Labrador.

“We had pretty much the largest collection that I’ve ever seen,” said Canon Bill Prentice, director of parish and diocesan services. “Nobody had used it for years.”

He said that every parish used to have its own flannelgraph collection but with the arrival of computers and videos, people have stopped using it. He said that flannelgraphs were a vital tool in Bible schools because “you could create any scene you wanted.”

The idea to give the collection away came from Priscilla Copeland, chair of the parish and diocesan services committee, who had heard that the incumbent of St. John’s, Rev. Iris Montague, had been looking for a better way to teach the stories of the Bible.

“St. John’s Mistissini put it (the collection) to work because it’s a different culture. Catechesis happens in a different way and figures like this will be well used,” said Mr. Prentice.


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