Joan Daggett to serve as new project director for Shine children’s curriculum

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Joan Daggett, new project director for Shine

May 12, 2016
News release

Joan Daggett to serve as new project director for Shine children’s curriculum
Current project director Rose Stutzman retires June 30

HARRISONBURG, Va., ELGIN, Ill., and KITCHENER, Ont.—Joan Daggett of Bridgewater, Virginia, has accepted the position of project director for Shine: Living in God’s Light, children’s Sunday school curriculum produced by MennoMedia and Brethren Press.

Daggett is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and was a writer for the Jubilee curriculum and a trainer for Gather ’Round, both also copublished by MennoMedia and Brethren Press.

Since 2011, Daggett has been executive director at the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg. From 1998 to 2011, Daggett was associate district executive at the Shenandoah District of the Church of the Brethren. In those years, she coached congregations on matters related to Christian education, faith formation, nurture, and discipleship, and provided staff support for the Disaster Ministries Auction. She also led numerous curriculum trainings during her time with the Shenandoah District.

“Christian education and discipleship formation have been my passion and calling in life,” said Daggett in accepting the position.

Before 1998, Daggett was director of Christian education in a Presbyterian church and a copastor in a Church of the Brethren congregation. She is a graduate of Bridgewater College and Bethany Theological Seminary, and has a certificate in nonprofit management from North Park University. The search committee named Daggett’s experience working with previous curriculum projects, ordination, and additional education in nonprofit management as being beneficial in the role of project director for Shine.

Amy Gingerich, editorial director for MennoMedia, commented, “We are excited to bring Joan’s passion for sharing about Christian formation to the Shine team.”

“Joan is also especially strong in building relationships with congregations,” says Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press. “She brings exceptional experience to this position.”

Daggett will work out of the Harrisonburg office of MennoMedia as project director and will begin full-time later this summer.

Rose Stutzman, writer for MennoMedia. Stutzman works from the Elkhart office.

Rose Stutzman, retiring project director for Shine and other publishing work.

Rose Stutzman is retiring June 30 as project director for Shine. Stutzman led the team that developed the Shine curriculum through conceptualization, implementation, and launch from 2013 to 2016. She also served as Gather ’Round editor from 2006 through 2014.

Prior to her work with Gather ’Round, Stutzman and her husband, Mervin, served with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Kenya, where she was an elementary school teacher. Additionally, she worked at Mennonite Publishing House from 1995 to 2002 as an editor and director of Faith & Life Resources.

MennoMedia, the publishing agency serving Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, and Brethren Press, publishing house of the Church of the Brethren, have been publishing curriculum together for many years, earning high marks for Shine, Gather ’Round, and Jubilee, all Sunday school curricula for children.

MennoMedia Staff
High resolution photos available.

For more information on this press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Gather ‘Round Bids Farewell

After 8 years, 32 quarters, and 416 weeks, this is the last week of the current children’s Sunday school curriculum, Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News. Next week will be the first week of the new curriculum, Shine: Living in God’s Light.

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In the course of this thoughtful curriculum I have done countless puzzles, tried my hand at various crafts, and edited numerous Bible stories as I read through session after session.

But my own work comes nowhere close to that of Project Director Anna Speicher. By my estimation, she has read a total of some 2600 sessions. (Curriculum was produced weekly for seven age groups for the first two years of Gather’ Round, and after that it was for six age groups each week.)

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This is what eight years of curriculum looks like when all stacked up.

 

I was hired by Anna in February 2005 to serve as managing editor for Gather ’Round, a full year and a half before the first curriculum was used by congregations. MennoMedia and Brethren Press are the co-publishers of Gather ’Round (just as they are for Shine), and in those early days we made decisions about student book names, we established the parameters for what each product would look like, and most of all we hoped and prayed that this curriculum would aid congregations and families in forming faith.

Being part of the Gather ’Round team has been a privilege in my life, and I’d like to share a few highlights.

  • Sharing: In my former congregation, I was part of planning a summer worship series using Gather ’Round themes. It was a delight to bridge my own faith and my work in this way, and to share this brand new curriculum with my church.
  • Teaching: I have loved teaching Gather ’Round. For two years I taught the Middler curriculum to one child. It was certainly a small class, but this one-on-one teaching was such a good way for me to really understand each session. Since then I’ve mostly taught the Preschool curriculum to a group of about five children. There’s no time to go deep with active three and four year olds, but I have appreciated the great variety of activities suggested in each session as we quickly moved between them. It was a delight to see how some children got engaged in memory work, others in art, some in games, and still in others in retelling the story. It reinforced for me the importance of teaching to the multiple ways that children learn.
  • Learning: Participating first as the managing editor and later as a member of the oversight group for Gather ’Round has meant that I’ve learned about all angles of producing a curriculum. I’ve put my seminary Greek language skills to good use and also sharpened my pencil as I looked over sales figures and budgets.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and the children, youth, and families in your congregation with Gather ’Round! And we look forward to sharing with you through Shine: Living in God’s Light.

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To close, here’s a glimpse of Gather ‘Round by the numbers:

 1

vision

 2

publishing partners

 7

age groups

 18

denominations represented among Gather ‘Round users

25

Bible scholars

31

Talkabouts

49

curriculum writers

124

student books

184

teacher’s guides

342

Bible stories

416

Bible insight essays

2613

responding activities

Thousands and thousands

 of children and youth taught

1

curriculum

Amy Gingerich, Editorial Director, MennoMedia.Picture of me 1

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!