From Gather ’Round to Shine

For the last 18 months MennoMedia and Brethren Press have been working collaboratively to imagine a new children’s curriculum to succeed Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News.

Gather ’Round is based on a four-year Bible outline cycle, with new materials every quarter. It started in Fall 2006, and I was among the staff hired back in 2005 to bring that exciting project to life. The curriculum was designed to last for eight years (two times through the four-year outline), so 2013–14 will be the final year of Gather ’Round.

So what’s next? And what does that mean for you and your congregation?

I’m delighted to announce that Shine: Living in God’s Light will succeed Gather ’Round starting in Fall 2014. We dream of raising a generation of children who are inspired to shine God’s light in the world around them. The products and guides we create will help children do just that.

asiangirls.Mom Some of the exciting new things about Shine include:

  • the Early Childhood grouping (ages three and four) will have a separate Bible outline;
  • the Shine Bible outline covers the Bible in three years;
  • Shine will incorporate the latest understandings of best practices in pedagogy. This means a completely new line of teacher’s guides and student pieces in line with changing user needs. One of those new pieces will be a hardcover story Bible (more details coming soon).

And best of all, the main things that you love and value from Gather ’Round will remain the same:

  • the curriculum will still be Bible story-based;
  • it will be grounded in a prophetic interpretation of Scripture that lifts up Christian discipleship, peace, simplicity, service, and community;
  • it will use wondering questions and activities to help children reflect on the Scriptures and apply them to their lives in age-appropriate ways.

Like Gather ’Round, also co-published by MennoMedia and Brethren Press, Shine is designed to be new every year. This allows us to keep the material fresh and to respond to user feedback in an ongoing way.

Gather Round Product 006

You might wonder what will happen after three years. Rest assured that MennoMedia and Brethren Press have every expectation of continuing to produce excellent Christian formation resources for children and youth—curriculum for Mennonite and Brethren churches as well as for other churches to whom our style of thoughtful, Anabaptist curriculum appeals.

Recently we’ve been asking how our children will learn to know the biblical story. Join us with Shine as we seek to guide children in: learning to follow Jesus, exploring Bible stories, and growing as people of God.


Amy Gingerich, editorial director

Amy Gingerich

P.S. This weekend our Shine writers and editors begin their work on the first quarter. Keep this meeting in New Hamburg, Ont., in your thoughts and prayers.

3 thoughts on “From Gather ’Round to Shine

  1. I have a suggestion for a diff. method of presenting a story . I just looked at the latest spring ed. of Gather Round. I looked at the beautiful photochart they printed to depict the cities tha tPaul visited. There is no way to present this in a way that is going to ‘stick’ with today’s grade 2-5 who I teach. It would be better received if the photos and comments could be placed on a zip drive(memory stick) and we view it on a lap top or some device so they can visually see it and learn and we can discuss it as a class. The small photos and info that is given not useful for anyone except the teacher. Also the words of the songs are not numbered on the song sheet included in the CD. so how do you locate quickly the matching songs with the words. It is very frustrating. Just think of more ways info and photos can be commuted to the kids. We learn info better visually than most senses.

  2. Hi, Marg, I’m so glad to know that your congregation uses Gather ‘Round. It’s delightful to know that you would welcome various electronic delivery options for your Middler class. Right now we are not set up to offer anything other than our Youth curriculum and our Talkabout materials electronically. However, as we plan for Shine we are thinking about technology in ways that were not even imaginable when we started Gather ‘Round. Thanks, too, for the tips about how to match the songs and lyrics on the CD jacket. Clever idea! We love to hear feedback from users like you who know just what works in their classrooms.

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