Rockingham: Author brings Bible stories to life in new book

Story by Chris Graham

It can be hard for serious-minded adults to get everything out of a reading of the Bible, so you can imagine the challenge that Miriam Haarer faced when she started a new Bible-story Sunday-school class at Zion Hill Mennonite Church in Linville that was aimed at teens and young adults just getting in touch with their spirituality.

And then she started with the Book of Genesis, not exactly the easiest set of stories to translate for those caught up in modern pop culture.

By the end of the first year of classes, Haarer, whose husband, Lowell, is the pastor at Zion Hill, noticed that the number of weekly attendees had grown to about half the church, and that she had regulars who were in their 70s.

But she never lost focus as to why she started the class in the first place.

“I thought, If I can touch those teenage boys, then maybe it needs to go further than just this class,” said Haarer, who turned her Sunday-school stories into The Covenant, a collection of stories covering the Old Testament and the New Testament published by Tate Publishing in August.

The stories in the book read like they sound when Haarer uses them with her Sunday-morning lessons. I guess you could say, then, that they’re battle-tested.

“You know, with that age kids, you’d think you have to deal with them talking and chitchatting and whatnot, but they didn’t. They sat up and listened. And they stayed with me for three years. So I felt that I must have been reaching them,” Haarer said.

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