I was really looking forward to getting my hands on The Apostles’ Creed for All God’s Children and it did not disappoint. With FatCat as our guide, the book and illustrations provide a wonderful teaching tool for children to engage the riches of the gospel. Ben Myers, who has already written a guide for adults on the Apostles’ Creed, takes each line of the creed and has written inviting and probing questions while also crafting a brief and hopeful summary for each line. He has written enough to invite good meditation and discussion with just the right amount of text. Natasha Kennedy’s FatCat font also facilitates the reading. The book concludes with a plan for daily family prayer as well as additional study resources for parents and others discipling children.
Though I am a novice at art appreciation, Natasha Kennedy’s illustrations have stoked my imagination, making a reflection on the creed more inviting. I like that Jesus has accurately been depicted as a person of color and the characters illustrated in the book are wonderfully diverse. I think just about any child in the world opening this book will see someone that looks like them; this work is for “all God’s children.” The artwork for the lesson on creation (“maker of heaven and earth”) was bright with the sun, sky, animals, and buildings, revealing the goodness of our creator. The birth of Christ (“who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”) was depicted with an amazing purple background fitting for the King of Kings. The death of Christ (“was crucified, died, and was buried”) was appropriately dark and somber (but still purple), while the resurrection (“on the third day he rose again from the dead”) made me squint from the brightness.
I could envision this book being used in family devotions and catechism over seventeen sessions (days or weeks). This is a great resource for a young family to be a little church. Like the Book of Common Prayer, it is a great tool for parents who may not have theological training to disciple their kids. I could see it also providing the framework for a semester-long Sunday school class for children.
My only quibble is that the authors and publisher have chosen the older language of the creed—“he descended into hell”—instead of the more commonly used “he descended to the dead.” So this language will mostly likely be different from the creed said in most churches today. Also, using “hell” instead of “dead” might present some teaching challenges for parents and teachers. Despite this, the explanatory text is very helpful: “Where will I go when I die? Where do all the dead go? Where it is Jesus went there, too. He went down as far as we had fallen. He took death’s keys to free the captives. He overcame death with his life.” Some parents and teachers may just opt to say “He descended to the dead” for this lesson.
In short, I love this book and want to slowly read it myself and take in the art and illustrations more. Though I have older teenagers, I’m tempted to read this to them at bedtime for the next seventeen days.