From the publisher | June 10, 2024

Follow the peace path

"follow the Peace Path" cards from Shine curriculum

A few weeks ago I was a substitute teacher for the elementary class at my church. This age group does more running around the room than junior youth, the age I have more experience with. But after a little chaos and some sharing time, everyone focused intently on the Bible story.

First the kids listened while I read the story of Saul’s conversion from The Peace Table storybook Bible, and then they acted it out while I read it again. One played the part of Saul, and another Ananias. I thought the third person would act out the part of a friend, but instead she volunteered for set design, quickly putting together a temple with a place for a burnt offering. (No, that’s not in this Bible story, but that was okay.)

The fourth class member handled lighting—shining a portable work light in Saul’s face when the narrator announced that a light from heaven flashed around him. Then he switched off the room lights when Saul discovered he could see nothing.

The class learned that Saul listened to God and changed his life. They also learned that Ananias and the other apostles had their own conversion experience when they decided to trust God and believe that Saul had changed.

I can tell these kids are going to like Shine’s new “Follow the Peace Path” cards. These cards are a way for families to read a Bible story together and follow up with simple activities and prayers for a range of ages and learning styles. Congregations that use the Shine curriculum are receiving a free set as part of the Lilly-funded Shine Everywhere initiative.

Through this initiative, Brethren Press and MennoMedia are leading a process in which congregations and families can learn from each other about how to practice faith at home.

Why did Lilly Endowment choose our proposal for one of their grants in the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative? We don’t really know. But maybe it helped that we had some momentum because of fast changes that had to be made during the pandemic, when many congregations suspended in-person Sunday school. We also think the longtime publishing collaboration between Brethren and Mennonites is a plus.

Others think so too. When we shipped out the free sample card sets to Shine congregations, there were a large number from denominations beyond the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite churches. These are congregations that value our approach to faith. In a world where war and weaponry overwhelm, we seek peace and pursue it.

Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press and executive director of communications for the Church of the Brethren.