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Youth help shape new devotional


Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living

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Cindy Massanari Breeze

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Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
March 16, 2012
-Steve Shenk

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.—High school youth had a direct hand in shaping the development of a devotional book for their age group. Their input came through a Sunday school class led by the author and at a national youth convention.

The result was Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living, which will be released by Herald Press on Mar. 21. The author is Cindy Massanari Breeze of Champaign, Ill.

Not only did her Sunday school class help shape the devotional book, but it was their idea in the first place, said Breeze. She dedicated the book “to the youth of First Mennonite Church in Urbana, Ill., past, present, and future” and named 14 of the teens in the acknowledgements section.

The book, rooted in Scripture and prayer, looks at a variety of issues important to youth who want to grow in their relationship with God. Woven through more than 100 meditations is the guarantee of God’s unconditional love and acceptance, the assurance that each young person is a worthwhile creation, and the challenge to courageously grow in faith.

Dive covers difficult topics like trauma and failure. But it also offers plenty of humour, real-life stories, and celebration. Each topical section in the book concludes with specific suggestions for “living it out.”

The author, recently retired, has worked with children and youth her entire adult life, first as a public school music teacher and then as an associate pastor. 

A native of central Illinois, Breeze graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in music education and later earned a certificate in theological studies from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

“One of my greatest joys in ministry,” she said, “was teaching the high school Sunday school class at First Mennonite Church for 17 years.”

Michele Hershberger, a Hesston College instructor and frequent speaker at youth gatherings—including Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2009-- was featured in the book’s “forward”. In it she recalled devotionals of her youth, with their “trite little stories that make it all sound too easy.” 

Not so in Dive, she said. “Cindy dares each of us to love ourselves, to gather the courage to claim for ourselves the radical identity of God’s beloved daughters and sons,” she added. “In our day, nothing takes more bravery.”

Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living is priced at $19.54 CAD. It is available at or by calling 800-631-6535. A promotional video of the book, featuring the author and three of her Sunday school students, is also available at that website.  

Herald Press is the book imprint of MennoMedia, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.