Lesson Title: "I believe..."

Church History or other context.

Grade Level or Age Group: I have done this activity with grade twelve students in the context of a Church history course. It can be adapted for younger students..

Lesson Objectives: Students will be invited to refect on the Nicene Creed and to write their own creed.

Materials Needed:


N.B.: If you do this activity outside of the context of a Church history course, simply skip steps 1 and 2 below.

1. Introduce the students to the events which led to the formulation of the Nicene Creed. The following documents available on the WWW can be useful here:

2. Hand out copies of the Apostle's Creed and of the Nicene Creed to the students. In groups of three or four, ask them:

a. to compare the two creeds - the following questions could be helpful in guiding this process:

  • How are the two creeds alike?
  • How are they different?
  • What has been added to the Nicene Creed about Jesus?

b. to try to come up with an explanation for the difference between the two creeds - ask them to justify their hypothesis. You might channel the students attention by asking a number of additional questions?

  • What role did the Arian heresy play in the formulation of the Nicene Creed? How is that obvious in the way the Nicene Creed is written?
  • Why did the bishops at the Council of Nicea insist so much on certain points in the creed they wrote?

Graphic from http://www.hermanoleon.org/3. After the groups have shared their answers with the rest of the class, hand out a copy of the "My Creed" worksheet to each of the students. (If you wish to let them be creative about it, you might want to ask them to draw a crest with illustrations and words to express the "articles of their faith".

NB: You can obviously extend this activity to include a reflection on the connection between our present day expression of faith and historical events. You could also analyse the Apostle's Creed with the students to show how it was partly a response to Gnosticism (see The Apostles' Creed: with notes by James E. Kiefer). You might also point out that understanding of our faith is a growth process for us as it was for people in the early Church.

4. Post the student "Creeds" in the classroom.

Related: Lesson Plans - Church History - Church Documents - The Creed

©Gilles Côté, 1999 If you use this lesson plan, please acknowledge your source.