Chocolate éclairs and new curriculum

Guest post from Rose Stutzman, Shine Project Director.

When my older children were in high school, they loved to bake. When someone mentioned chocolate éclairs, I warned them that it would be too hard to do. The next evening my son Dan was in charge of supper. At the end of the meal he said he’d bring in the dessert. His siblings looked like they’d been up to something. They had made chocolate éclairs. It had taken all of them working together and they got rave reviews from their surprised parents.

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I hope you have had many similar experiences of teamwork and having something turn out so well that others notice and enjoy it. For me, that would be Shine On: A Story Bible and its Spanish counterpart Resplandece: Historias de la biblia para niños. I’m pleased to have been a part of the team from MennoMedia and Brethren Press that made these amazing Bible storybooks available to children.

ResplandeceFrom the start we on the Shine curriculum team wondered if it would be possible. How were we going to create a Bible storybook and have the first quarter of the new Shine Sunday school curriculum out on time? It was a huge task to write and gather Bible stories for all three years of a children’s curriculum and have it ready with the first quarter of curriculum. This project involved editors, consultants, designers, artists, copyeditors, proofreaders, translators, and people to attend to details like printing specifications and the library of congress numbers. Like the chocolate éclairs it took teamwork.

It has been like the éclairs in another way. The “rave reviews” are coming in. One Mennonite pastor said, “We’ll be buying each child in the congregation a copy. I can imagine that when the children grow up to be camp counselors they will read the stories to younger kids.”

One woman shared Shine On with a friend in Fort Bragg. The friend wrote back,

Oh, how much I love the “Shine Bible”—such a great resource and just so “right on” for kids.  Don’t you wish they could have explained some of the Bible (like they did) when we were young?  They relate everything to the child’s own experiences.

Shine On remains authentic to the text and includes a broad range of Bible texts. It seems to cross denominational  boundaries. A bishop in the Amish church asked me how Shine On was different than other story Bibles. I explained our peacemaking emphasis and told him that it included the story of Amos and the Prayer of Agur. He took a look and bought a copy. His daughter, who teaches at an Amish school, bought one too. In a quite different denominational setting, Shine On was recommended by the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. You can read the full review here.

The best stories come from the children who are already encountering Shine On. Isabela discovered Resplandece at her Spanish-speaking grandpa’s house. She was delighted, “My other grandpa has it too, but in English.” Now Isabela can enjoy the story Bible with both sets of grandparents and in both of her languages.

Sophia discovered Shine On when she came for vacation at her “adoptive” grandmother’s house. Sophia wrote to us.

I like the book because it has the “Connect” sections and the “Explore” sections ,which ask you questions and get you thinking. I also like that there are so many different authors and illustrations. I like the pictures. I like that every story is only one page long. The authors do a good job of making the stories easy for kids to understand.

 

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Sophia reading Shine On. Photo by Marty Lehman.

Here are a few other endorsements that we have received:

I really like the children’s Bible. Now more than ever the need to educate parents and get them talking about faith with their children is crucial. Shine On: A Story Bible is one of the best and most accessible ways to get parents doing this. I’m recommending it to churches even if they don’t get the curriculum. —Amy Cook, Missioner for Education, Formation & Discipleship, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

 

These illustrations (drawn by a rich variety of artists) are already replacing those I remember from childhood. Even Leviticus (pages 56–57) comes alive! This is what the Bible looks like. This is what God’s Word looks like. It will unlock these stories for children and adults. These are the illustrations and stories that I would love for children and parents to share for life. —Frank Ramirez, Pastor at Union Center Church of the Brethren

 

Shine On has even gotten to children in Nigeria via Church of the Brethren staff visiting there. I love imagining the hope that these Bible stories might bring in Nigeria and many other parts of the world.

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Daughters of a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) hold their copy of Shine On. Photo by Markus Gamache.

Primary, Middler, and Multiage Bible stories come from Shine On each week for all three years of the Shine curriculum. Shine On is also a wonderful Bible storybook for churches, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to gift to children. We hope that every child will have a Shine On Bible at home.

To order Shine On, visit www.ShineCurriculum.com or call MennoMedia at 1-800-245-7895. In Canada call 1-800-631-6535.

Rose Stutzman, Shine Project Director

P.S. Make sure to check out the new Shine curriculum training videos on our YouTube channel!

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