Development of a new Sunday school curriculum called Shine is underway by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. This month writers are beginning to prepare the first quarter of Shine: Living in God’s Light, which will be available for use in fall 2014.
“We are pleased to offer our congregations a user-friendly, enriching curriculum that grows out of our distinct beliefs as Brethren and Mennonites,” said Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press.
The two publishing houses are long-time collaborators on Sunday school curriculum and began more than 18 months ago to prepare a successor to the current curriculum, Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News. Gather ’Round was designed to run for eight years, with summer 2014 as its final quarter.
“We’re very excited about Shine’s emphasis on God’s light shining through us,” said Rose Stutzman, project director for Shine. “As you read the Bible, you notice that the theme of light is pervasive. God’s light shines through the darkness for God’s people, both then and now.”
Shine’s foundational scriptures include Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 5:14-16. “Jesus told us, ‘You are the light of the world,’” said Rebecca Seiling, project developer. “Shine’s materials take this seriously. They serve to inspire children and their families to be that light in the world around them.”
Designed for children age three through grade eight, Shine will incorporate the latest understandings of the ways children learn. The material is based on a three-year overview of the Bible, with a separate Bible outline for early childhood (ages three to five). Sessions include an emphasis on teaching prayer and other spiritual practices, and also will highlight peace themes.
Primary and middler children will read from a hardcover Bible storybook for use at church and at home. Junior youth will read the stories directly from the Bible. A flexible multi-age resource will serve congregations with a small number of children of different ages.
Like Gather ’Round, Shine will continue to be Bible story based; lift up Christian discipleship, peace, simplicity, service, and community; use “wondering” questions and activities to help children reflect on the Bible stories and connect the Bible to their lives in age-appropriate ways; and provide a wide variety of engaging activities for children to explore the Bible story.
Shine is co-published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia, the publishing houses of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.
Congregations are encouraged to continue using Gather ‘Round through summer 2014, in order to have a seamless transition to the new curriculum when it becomes available in fall 2014. Gather ‘Round may be ordered from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.
(This report includes information from a release by Melodie M. Davis of MennoMedia.)