Shine adds digital curriculum for Fall

Publisher offers options for maintaining Christian formation during pandemic

HARRISONBURG, Virginia — Shine is helping congregations provide Christian formation while maintaining social distancing. With most churches either relying on parents to teach their own children, or hosting online Sunday School classes, Shine is stepping in to provide downloadable options to assist struggling leaders through the changing landscape. Shine is offering useful resources to accommodate multiple formats to launch alongside the new Fall curriculum.

“It may be some time before we know what worship and faith formation will look like in the future,” said Joan Daggett, Shine project director. “We have curriculum pieces that are well suited for such a time as this. What we have to do is show churches how to use them.”

Beginning June 19, Shine will debut two new digital resources: Shine at Home and Shine Connect. These digital resources are being offered to help congregations offer faith formation in online and at home settings.

Shine at Home is a new, simple option for families to do at home if congregations are not resuming regular Sunday school this fall. Shine at Home includes weekly mini-sessions, complete with a prayer practice, ideas for sharing the Bible story, questions and conversation prompts, media suggestions, and four activities that help kids and families explore the Bible story. Use with Shine’s storytelling, music, and student resources for a fun learning experience at home.

Shine at Home is now available for preorder and will be released August 1 as a downloadable PDF to email to all the families in the purchasing congregation. The retail price is $20.99 USD.

Shine Connect is a new free resource for those faith formation teachers leading children through online Sunday school sessions. Shine Connect materials are included for free with the purchase of any Shine teacher’s guide starting with Fall 2020 materials. Shine Connect for Early Childhood includes a two-page outline and tips for creating fun, online sessions for preschoolers using the activities in the teacher’s guide and storytelling pictures in the Resource Pack. A more robust guide with weekly online session plans for Elementary children accompanies the Primary, Older Elementary, and Multiage teacher’s guides. Shine Connect for Junior Youth provides a simple framework and tips for facilitating discussion around the Bible story and connecting via the at-home devotional, Quest. These free materials will become available when the fall curriculum ships on July 1, 2020.

“Shine staff continues to monitor the needs of churches and welcomes feedback and suggestions as we move forward,” Daggett says. “Our goal is to help churches keep connections strong with their children, youth, and families during these challenging times.”

 

Downloadable Resources Available for Churches

MennoMedia puts digital curriculum online

 

HARRISONBURG, Va. — When churches started closing their doors to keep their congregation safe from the pandemic, MennoMedia stepped in the gap by providing free downloadable curriculum materials for congregants to use at home. The “Staying Connected + Staying Safe with MennoMedia” email with these resources has gone out to hundreds of churches every Wednesday since the “shelter-in-place” or “stay at home” directives were given. These emails included links to free downloads of the Adult Bible Study, Rejoice devotional, Shine materials, and other helpful resources.

“Since so many congregations purchased Spring curriculum they could no longer use in person, we wanted to provide ways they could still use it at home,” said Amy Gingerich, MennoMedia publisher. “This pandemic hit everyone hard, and we wanted to do what we could to help churches through it.”

Although “stay home” orders are beginning to lift in different areas, some congregations have no plans to resume in-person meetings in the immediate future. Digital downloads of curriculum materials are a safe solution.

Beginning June 1, MennoMedia will transition from providing free curriculum on a weekly basis to offering quarterly digital curriculum available for purchase on both MennoMedia.org for U.S. customers and MennoMedia.ca for Canadians. Any congregations that have already purchased the print versions can contact Customer Service for download access to the digital files at no extra charge.

“We have long dreamed about digital delivery, so this new initiative allows us to try out some fresh ideas,” Gingerich added.

Here are the products that are now available digitally:

Adult Bible Study

Student Book                                                      $7.70 USD / $10.24 CAD

Teacher Guide                                                    $11.55 USD / $15.33 CAD

Spanish Study Book & Teacher Guide                     $18.00 USD / $23.95 CAD

Rejoice                                                                               $6.70 USD / $8.90 CAD

Leader                                                                                $10.55 USD / $14.00 CAD

* Purchase is for individual use only. Not to be reproduced or shared with others.

 

SHINE

Early Childhood Stories/ Story Pictures                   $9.99 USD / $13.29 CAD

Shine On Stories / Illustrations                               $9.99 USD / $13.29 CAD

Multiage Teacher Guide (zip file)                           $14.99 USD / $19.94 CAD

Junior Youth Teacher (w/ student pages)                  $36.99 USD / $49.20 CAD

Year 6 Primary-Junior Youth Songbook/Songs         $19.99 USD / $26.59 CAD

 

2020 VBS

VBS 2020 Digital Upgrade (for use with Boxed set purchase)  $29.99 USD / $39.89 CAD

 

While weekly “Staying Connected + Staying Safe with MennoMedia” will no longer provide free curriculum downloads, it will continue providing resources and ideas for congregations during this worldwide crisis. To subscribe to that weekly email list, click here or email hp@mennomedia.org.

 

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Do not sing together if you are gathering physically for worship

Coping with temporary loss of in-person congregational song

With stay-at-home orders being lifted across much of the U.S. and Canada, churches are thinking about what it will look like to open their doors again. Yet because the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us, it is up to churches to consider how to do so safely.

While singing is considered vital in many congregations, at this time epidemiologists have said that singing together poses an especially high risk for transmitting the virus. Deep breathing and projecting the voice in song creates smaller particles that travel farther than normal breathing and speaking. Even outdoors and with masks, physically gathering for congregational singing is currently unsafe.

As people of faith who love to sing, we in the church deeply feel this loss. Congregations are seeking to stay connected to God and one another by singing during online worship and by embracing other aspects of worship when gathering in person.

When feeling a sense of grief about the temporary loss of in-person singing, keep the following in mind:

  • Remember that worshiping online is an act of love and care to keep one another and the most vulnerable in our communities safe.
  • Celebrate that God is present and brings us together across distance.
  • Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
  • Honor the feelings of sorrow that many are experiencing as a healthy part of adjusting to the realities of the time.
  • Encourage singing at home within families and households.

When you worship on the screen, consider the following:

  • Allow worshipers to see others’ faces on the digital platform during muted singing so they can see that they are singing together.
  • Encourage participation in chat features during live services or watch parties. Sharing meaningful lines from songs, describing where and how people are participating in worship, or a simple “Amen” can enhance the experience of being together while apart.
  • Embrace lag, delayed responses, and frozen screens as part of this worship experience.
  • Provide worshipers with lyrics or notated music on the screen or in print.

We honor God when we worship in ways that protect the physical health and safety of ourselves and our community. We know God hears our praise, lament, and prayer when we sing from our homes or silently in our hearts.

 

***These statements should not be taken as medical advice. Follow guidelines from your local health department for COVID-19 prevention.***