Development of a new Sunday school curriculum called Shine is underway by publishers MennoMedia and Brethren Press. Writers are beginning this month on the first quarter of Shine: Living in God’s Light, which will be available for use in fall 2014.
The two publishing houses began more than 18 months ago to prepare a successor to their current Sunday school curriculum, Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News. For congregations using Gather ’Round, the transition to Shine will be seamless. Gather ’Round was designed to run for eight years, with summer 2014 as the final quarter.
“We’re very excited about Shine’s emphasis on God’s light shining through us,” says project director Rose Stutzman. “As you read the Bible, you notice that the theme of light is pervasive. God’s light shines through the darkness—for God’s people both then and now.”
Shine’s foundational Scriptures include Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 5:14-16. “Jesus told us, ‘You are the light of the world,’” says project developer Rebecca Seiling. “Shine’s materials take this seriously. They serve to inspire children and their families to be that light in the world around them.”
Designed for children aged 3 through Grade 8, Shine will incorporate the latest understandings of the ways children learn. The material is based on a three-year overview of the Bible, with a separate Bible outline for early childhood (aged 3 to 5). Sessions include an emphasis on teaching prayer and other spiritual practices, and will also highlight peace themes in the Scriptures.
Primary and middle school children will read from a hardcover Bible storybook for use at church and at home. Junior youth will read the stories directly from the Bible. The flexible multi-age resource serves congregations with a small number of children of different ages.
“We dream of raising a generation of children who are inspired to shine God’s light in the world around them,” says Amy Gingerich, director of media for MennoMedia. “The products and guides we create will help children do just that.”