Sunday school at Epiphany Episcopal Church will have a few new wrinkles later this month.
First, classes won't be held in the church or the rectory, but rather in a modular building being placed on the site.
And second, the faculty will include Luie Blue Coat, a member of the Sioux tribe who lives in South Dakota.
To help the students ages 3 to 15 focus on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to the New World, the Epiphany students will be comparing their own culture and religion with that of 15th-century American Indians.
"Their cultures are very rich and they have a lot to teach us non-Indian people," said the Rev. Phebe Coe, rector of the Odenton church.
"The culture itself tends to be very generous, very open, very trusting and very spiritual."
The weekly program will be spread over nine months, taking the place of regular Sunday School classes starting Sept. 13. Ms. Coe said children from any denomination and church are welcome to attend. She hopes to attract 200 students.
To accommodate the Indian artifacts and additional children, Ms. Coe has rented a modular 60-foot by 12-foot building, which is expected to arrive this week.
It will be placed behind the church on Odenton Road. Ms. Coe said she already has a lot of artifacts to display, including sparkling quilts.
The children also will make their own Indian wares.
Ms. Coe plans to use a curriculum from her national church offices, which is sending a crew of 12 teachers to help out.
The rector said she is a member of a religious program that promotes cultural sharing between American Indians and others.
Besides looking at Indian culture, Ms. Coe said, students will compare religions, through such methods as comparing Christian Bible stories with tribal folklore.
"There are two million Native Americans in this country," she said. "This is not just a study of the past, it's a study of present day cultures."
Classes will began at 10 a.m. and last until 10:45 p.m. The program is free, but an offering is requested to help cover the cost of art supplies.
There also will be a trip to the Washington Cathedral in October for the national "Celebration of Survival" ceremony, a crafts, music, storytelling and ceremonial experience.
Information: Ms. Coe, 674-8819.