Shine: Living in God’s Light looking for curriculum writers


Shine: Living in God’s Light, the Sunday school curriculum produced by MennoMedia and Brethren Press, is accepting applications for curriculum writers. The curriculum is for children age three through grade 8.  Accepted writers must attend a Writers Conference in Virginia, March 2-5, 2017. Shine pays for meals and lodging during the conference and covers reasonable travel expenses.

More details are available at Application and sample session deadline is December 1, 2016.

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


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

Ah summer … ah books


By Melissa Miller, secretary of MennoMedia board

Musician Frank Zappa lamented, “So many books, so little time!” For some of us, summer slows down enough that we can indulge in our love of reading, nearly to our heart’s content. I am one of the fortunate few who finds enough time for books during the warm months of the year, and even more fortunately, a professional obligation to read.

Herald Press often fills the bill. This summer that has included the lighter, yet still meaningful fare from the Plainspoken series, Called to be Amish: From Head Majorette to the Old Order (by Marlene C. Miller) & Chasing the Amish Dream: My Life as a Young Amish Bachelor (by Loren Beachy)

CalledToBeAmish ChasingTheAmishDream

I’ve enjoyed these up close reflections from writers who speak out of their personal experiences. I’ve had little contact with Amish over the years, except through visits with my in-laws in the Amish-saturated Kishacoquillas Valley of Pennsylvania (where there are actually four separate tribes of Amish among the 13,000 inhabitants).

For denser material, and to aid in sermon preparation, I am working my through the Believers’ Church Biblical Commentary on John by Willard Swartley. I am grateful for the work that Swartley and other scholars do on our behalf, bringing the riches of their research and knowledge to us that we may deepen our understanding and appreciation for the treasures of the Bible.

BCBC JohnJohn has been one of those books I have puzzled over with its complex, intertwined themes. As one professor said, “John is like a bowl of spaghetti. You try to pick out one noodle (one theme) in a passage, and the whole mess comes out with it.” Swartley’s diligent, loving exegesis enables me to identify the different themes in “the pasta bowl”. It also leads me to appreciate the biblical author’s extraordinary skill and passionate call to faith in Jesus.

Last fall, when I jumped into teaching Sunday School with our church’s young children, I was delighted with the still-new Shine curriculum. In the busy-ness of life, I had just a few moments to skim the teacher’s manual, Shine Together: The Essential Guide for Leaders and Teachers.

ShineTogetherWhat I encountered there warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes, like these words from the introduction, “Let children’s imagination, sense of mystery, creativity, and boldness inspire Christ’s church today…Children’s spiritual wisdom can be found in the midst of exuberant play, settling arguments, work, mealtimes, and conversation. The child’s spiritual learning environment is everywhere, anytime. Where the child is, God is already there.” (p 9)

With the slower pace of summer, I look forward to savoring the manual’s nuggets mined from the writers’ deep faith and insight.

May your summer include gems such as these. And thanks to MennoMedia for continuing to provide them!


To purchase any of the above books or other resources, check the store. (Although currently closed through June 30 for inventory. Sorry. But sign up here to receive timely email news and specials from MennoMedia and Herald Press)


What is on your reading list for this summer? Anything from Herald Press or MennoMedia? We’d love to hear and may feature your comments in a follow up post or on Facebook. 

MelissaMillerPorchSwingCroppedMelissa Miller fulfills some of her love of summer reading while seated on a swing (ted by her husband from Pennsylvania oak) at her Winnipeg, Manitoba home. She is a Canadian member, and secretary of, the MennoMedia board.