Q: Who writes the materials?
A: Unless otherwise stated on a particular unit, the main author of the materials is Shereen Marcus, supported by a small team of editors and contributors. Check out our About Us Page for more information.
Q: Have the materials been approved by a Bishop or the Pope?
A: Bishops and Priests have reviewed the materials and approved them for their specific Diocese / Parish. Our recommendation is that you follow your Priest's guidance and whatever protocol in place in getting the materials approved for your individual parish. Feel free to Contact Us if we can be of assistance.
Q: Who are the materials made for?
A: The units are made as a tool for Sunday school teachers wanting to fill approximately 1-hour lessons each week in an age-appropriate, engaging, and theologically sound manner.
The materials were made for all Orthodox traditions. As such, you may occasionally seen an option to download a Coptic or Eastern Orthodox "version" of a unit. If there is no such option, then there is no difference in the materials. (Most of the time the materials contain no differences).
In addition, the copyright license granted with a purchase allows you, as the teacher, to add on whatever cultural tradition infusion into your lessons you would like as long as the additions stay within the Orthodox faith. All materials are fully adaptable to make "your own" (again, within our theology).
In general, the materials were made in cooperation with Coptic and Eastern Orthodox contributors.
Q: Can I get a unit for free?
A: We have a Sample Pack available for free download that has a ton of free samples included as well as a lot of other free information about our scope of topics, information about our author and contributors, pricing, and a 6-minute video presentation about the general Bridges to Orthodoxy "strategy."
We do our best to keep the pricing low in comparison to the time and personal investment made into making quality educational and theologically sound materials.
Did you know that any money made by BtO is used to cover costs and invested right back into creating more quality Christian education materials? Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about our cost-price model!
Questions for Crossroads (Teens 7th-12th Grade)
Q: How do I use these materials?
A: We designed the curriculum with maximum adaptability. If you have a curriculum you generally use, but would like to "fill holes" on certain topics and only purchase a unit here and there - you can purchase a la carte (one month of lesson plans at a time), you certainly can do that and use the month whenever you choose.
You can also purchase an annual subscription at a discounted price, which includes annual retreat materials as well as 12-months of materials for your 7th-12th graders and follows our School Year Content Guide. You can also mix and match and buy the retreat materials on their own as well.
Q: Does each grade have its own unique curriculum?
A: No, not necessarily. Every year we will upload new content, but the lesson plans can be used across the suggested age bracket. Meaning that a 7th grader may be learning what a 12th grader is learning at the same time, but with their own unique discussion. Check out our School Year Content Guide for more information about this school year's content.
Q: How many years of "new" themes do you have available?
A: We only upload one school-year at a time, but we have approximately 4 years worth of unique topics that will be covered. Check out our full scope guide for more information.
Q: Why don't you make the whole 4-year scope available all at once?
A: The short answer is because we want to keep it fresh, new, and updated. While the Bible and Orthodox faith is timeless, the landscape our youth are living in is constantly changing. Nuances such as cyber-bullying, social media, vaping, and other pop culture "fads" evolve throughout time. We want to effectively cover the topics our youth face. For those reasons, we take down our curriculum and upload new content every year in an effort to keep the materials culturally relevant.
Q: What is included in a unit?
A: Each unit contains lesson plans, power-point slides, and suggested video resources for one month. The units all follow a series theme (e.g., Gossip), with lessons that build on each other for the month. Some units are 4 lessons and some units are 5 lessons. If you follow our suggested calendar, you will have full coverage for all Sundays in a given school year.
Q: What is included in any particular lesson plan?
A: The lesson plans are focused around a Biblical passage, topic, or an Orthodox Saint story depending on the theme. Typically the lesson plans include a fun ice-breaker, suggested videos, a main teaching component, discussion questions, and an application activity. The structure of the lesson plans varies a little depending on the series.
Q: Can I get a sample?
A: Absolutely. Please check out our Sample Pack to download a bunch of free samples as well as loads of other free information and videos.
Questions Regarding the Elementary and Tween Materials
Q: What materials do you have now or coming out soon for this age group?
A: The Sacrament Olympics is age-appropriate for upper elementary and middle school aged kids (4th-8th grade). Teens could also benefit, but the content may be too difficult for younger kids. This is a 5-week unit about the Holy Sacraments of the Coptic Orthodox Church and can be integrated at any time during the school year. If you are an Eastern Orthodox parish, keep in mind these materials were written with the Coptic tradition in mind. (We are working on an Eastern Orthodox Version)
We also have a 1-week VBS available based on Mireille Mishreky's children book series, "Philo and the SuperHolies." This has been reviewed by the Antiochian Department of Christian Education, and is appropriate for both Coptic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.
Q: Do you have a full Elementary curriculum available?
A: Right now, our "featured" product is our teen program (Crossroads). We will have elementary resources coming out throughout the year, but not a full curriculum right now.