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Gather 'Round summer curriculum connects all ages


“Talkabout,” a take-home aid to encourage family conversation about faith

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April 24, 2008
- Staff

ELGIN, Illinois — "The Things that Make for Peace" is the Gather 'Round theme for Summer 2008 (June 1 through Aug. 24).

"Peace is fundamental to our understanding of the biblical message," commented Gather 'Round director and editor, Anna Speicher. "Often we think of peace as a particularly New Testament theme, but this summer we will explore perspectives on peace and peacemaking from the Old as well as the New Testament. Children and adults alike will enjoy the creative ways our writers present both familiar and unfamiliar stories.

In response to requests by congregations, the Gather 'Round Sunday school curriculum is offering a new Youth/Junior Youth Summer Supplement as well as summer worship guides this year. The supplement can accompany both the Summer 2008 "Connect" guide for adults, and the teacher's guide for multi-age groups.

“Teachers really wanted materials for teens, and we’re glad we were able to provide them in time for use this summer,” said Eleanor Snyder, director of Mennonite Publishing Network’s congregational division.

Gather ‘Round summer resources include:

  • The preschool curriculum for ages three and four, with tips for twos, includes the “My Bible Storybook” student book).
  • The multi-age curriculum for grades K-6 includes the “Together” student book, a teacher's guide, and a classroom pack.
  • The parent/caregiver curriculum for adults, group or individual use, includes the “Connect” book and a classroom pack.
  • “Talkabout,” a take-home aid to encourage family conversation about faith. Issued quarterly, “Talkabout” is based upon weekly Sunday School Bible themes. The 2008 summer issue will consist of faith-building, peace-related activities printed on multi-coloured origami paper with instructions for folding peace cranes or peace doves.
  • Summer worship guides in the Mennonite Magazine, “Leader: Equipping the Missional Congregation.”

Congregations that purchase the summer “Connect” or the summer multi-age teacher's guide may purchase the Youth/Junior Youth Summer Supplement either as a download or on a CD. The supplement includes suggestions for reading and presenting Bible stories, connect-to-the-story activities, responding options, and a reproducible page for each session. Purchase of the supplement includes the right to make copies of the “okay to photocopy” pages for each youth in a class. For opening and closing activities and reflecting questions, teachers are to use the suggestions in one of the books the supplement accompanies.

Snyder noted that for the first time, coordinating worship resources are included in the summer issue of “Leader” magazine “I’d encourage congregations to use the resources in ‘Leader’ [magazine] and have everyone bring their [‘Talkabout’] peace cranes to church week by week through the summer. Display them in the sanctuary or fellowship room, and have a special closing worship at the end of the quarter on the theme of peace. Summer is the perfect time for an integrated, intergenerational approach to worship and education and these materials provide an excellent way to help make that happen.”

For families who tend to spend summer weekends at the lake or traveling, the “Connect” guide, the children’s response books and/or the origami “Talkabout” offer ways to stay connected with the fellowship and worship of their home congregations. They also provide good “rainy day” activities.

Gather ’Round Christian education materials are published by Mennonite Publishing Network and Brethren Press for Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church USA, and the Church of the Brethren, and are also used by congregations in at least half a dozen other denominations.

Individual and congregational orders can be placed with a phone call to Kathy Shantz at (519) 747-5722 or online at any time at