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Gather ‘Round starts second four-year cycle



Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Publishing Network joint release
April 1, 2010
-John Longhurst

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa.— It’s back to the beginning for Gather ‘Round, the Bible-based curriculum for children and youth produced by Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN).

The curriculum, which is co-published with Brethren Press, will return to the book of Genesis this fall after completing its first four-year cycle through the Bible.

“It’s impossible to cover all of the richness of the Bible in four years,” says Ron Rempel, Executive Director of MPN. “There is so much more to share about how God has interacted with people in history.”

The goal of Gather ‘Round is to “help children and youth know, love, and follow God as they study the Bible,” says Eleanor Snyder, who gives direction to the Gather ’Round curriculum through her work as editorial director for Faith & Life Resources. “We believe it’s important for them to know and engage the Bible’s stories.”

Snyder notes that the second edition of Gather ‘Round includes new features such as a redesigned Talkabout, the signature item that connects church and home; more options for group study in the Youth unit, called Search; and easier to use session plans for teachers. (See New Features For Gather ‘Round below.)

“Our hope is that, as children and youth learn more about the Bible, they will discover how to follow the way of Jesus in a world that emphasizes power, individualism, and consumerism,” she says.

In addition to Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church USA, and Church of the Brethren, other denominations using and supporting Gather ‘Round are the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mennonite Brethren, the Moravian Church in America, the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ.

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Sidebar: New Features For Gather ‘Round

The next edition of Gather ‘Round offers a few new features for teachers, parents and families.

A completely new version of the Talkabout, the signature item that connects church and home. Previously a three-dimensional item purchased for each family, the Talkabout is now provided on CD so that material can be copied or e-mailed to families in weekly or monthly formats. Bonus content gives parents a summary of the quarter, commentary on each week’s stories, and additional items such as children’s pages or articles for teachers.

The Youth unit, called Search, now offers more options for group exploration of Bible stories and their application to the everyday lives of high school teens. Also new this coming year is a full Youth resource for the summer quarter. The new Summer Search includes ways to adapt the material for Junior Youth, and is provided on CD or as a download.

The Multi-age teacher’s guide, which serves congregations with a small number of children that span a wide age range, is now coordinated with both the Primary and Middler student books. Teachers may select one or both levels of student books based on the particular mix of children in the group, and the teacher guide identifies parallel activities in both student books.

Session plans for all age levels have been revised to be simpler and easier to use. The curriculum will once again cover the whole Bible, so that families hear the story of God’s faithfulness over the generations. Many new stories are added in this Bible outline, and there are two completely new quarters—“God’s Good Creation” and “Stories of God’s People.”

For more information, visit