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

Stories told by Jesus chosen as VBS 2016 theme

News release
November 19, 2015SurpriseVBS

Stories told by Jesus chosen as VBS 2016 theme

Newest summer Bible school curriculum ready for orders

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Surprise! Stories of Discovering Jesus is the new MennoMedia vacation Bible school material for 2016.

The theme was suggested by users who asked for vacation Bible school material that focuses on Jesus. The team producing the upcoming VBS curriculm looked at stories about Jesus, and noticed that many of the passages featured people and situations where Jesus said or did surprising things. These revealed new facets of Jesus and his teachings. Those stories include Jesus in the temple, with children, in the crowd, during the night, and while walking along a road.

Girl in her driveway playing with chalk

Girl in her driveway playing with chalk

Created for children ages 4 through grade 5, with free options for junior youth available on the VBS website (www.mennomedia.org/vbs), the materials feature a time of worship that includes a drama to present the Bible story. After worship, children rotate among activities that relate to the Bible story.

Dawn Silvius at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas, said that this “format brings adults and kids together for extended periods of time around a variety of activities.” She adds that adults and children learn to know each other and develop lasting friendships. They develop friendships that “continue to grow through the rest of the year.” Silvius also adds that “vacation Bible school is a wonderful week for our congregation.”

The VBS 2016 materials were written by a team in Ontario, coordinated by managing editor Mary Ann Weber. Writing rotates among various Mennonite communities across the United States and Canada, and varies by year.

Surprise! Stories of Discovering Jesus may be ordered in an all-in-one boxed set including everything needed for planning and preparation. All items are also available separately. More information is at: www.mennomedia.org/vbs.

MennoMedia Staff
Hi-res photos available

or more information on the news release
Melodie Davis
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Polly and Andy, two more books in Ellie’s People series, released

September 3, 2015
News release

Herald Press republishes Polly and Andy stories for young readers
Books 5 and 6 of Mary Christner Borntrager’s Ellie’s People series to be released

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Mary Christner Borntrager was cherished by her family for sitting down to tell stories or read to children and grandchildren. Late in her life, she turned that gift into a legacy of published books for her family and youthful readers of all ages.

Polly, about a family moving from their Amish community to Texas, and Andy, about an Amish boy who faces adolescent angst and teasing, are the newest novels in this series released by Herald Press in September and October.

The Ellie’s People series chronicles the family and friends of the protagonist of book 1, Ellie Maust, across several generations. While fictional, the series focuses on real issues young people face within the context of an Amish life. Borntrager grew up in an Old Order Amish home, and she based her stories on the people and places of her childhood. Books from the series have sold more than half a million copies.

PollyIn book 5, Polly Miller doesn’t want to move to Texas. No other Amish families live in Lone Prairie, and Polly loves her family and friends in Ohio. But her father’s mind is made up. As Polly settles into her new life, she gains a non-Amish friend, Rose Ann, who shares her dresses and makeup with Polly. She also earns the attention of a young hired hand named Tom, who takes her to a rodeo and tells her how pretty she is.

Andy Maust, the protagonist of book 6, likes to writeAndy.indd poems. He’s not good at running or wrestling or any of the other activities that Amish boys enjoy. The other boys tease him mercilessly, and then Andy’s dog disappears in a mysterious way. As “drifters” roam the country on trains looking for work and a hot meal, Andy begins to imagine running away from his troubles.

The books are written for readers 10 years and up. The language has been updated for today’s reader, and the books have new covers.

Borntrager’s novels have been praised for their accurate descriptions of Amish life. Borntrager’s daughter Kathryn Keim writes in an upcoming article for the popular AmishWisdom blog about her mother’s books, “Her goal was to give the world books that were true to life about people who are often misunderstood,” Keim writes. “I think she accomplished that.”

Polly and Andy are available for $9.99 USD/$­­­ 11.49 CAD each from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores.

MennoMedia staff

High resolution photo available upon request.
For more information
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@MennoMedia.org