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.
- 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.
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
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.