by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation
Biblical, essential, updated, colorful, Anabaptist, media-savvy, peace orientation, spiritual practices.  There.  That’s the basics of the new Shine! faith formation curriculum for preschool through grade 8 that our very own MennoMedia is releasing for use in Fall, 2014.  I am excited and grateful for the wisdom and care the curriculum developers have lavished on this new tool for faith development.  And here is why:

* Biblical – three texts have inspired Shine:

  • God’s light shines amidst the darkness in our world.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.

—Isaiah 9:2

  • We are a reflection of God’s light, called to shine that light at home and beyond.

You are the light of the world. A city built upon a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

—Matthew 5:14–16

  • The light of Christ transforms us and gives us wisdom to do God’s will. We cooperate with God to bring healing and hope to our world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

—Romans 12:2

* Essential – even through we say the home is the best place to nurture Christian faith, in reality, most efforts happen through the local congregation.  Shine is the essential tool.

* Anabaptist – the writers of Shine are people like you and me, committed and trained in Christian education, and fully Anabaptist.  They offer us embedded Anabaptist theology in the curriculum.  Want more Mennonite Christians?  Quality curriculum is the first step.

* Media-savvy – no longer just book lists….the Media Connections suggests web-links!

* Peace-Notes – a paragraph devoted to connecting peace theology for every lesson.  I think this means….we are no longer the quiet in the land…perhaps we are ready to be more overt about what we believe as the Jesus Way of Peace.

* Spiritual Practices – drum roll here! This is the one I am most excited about! Each spiritual practice invites the child to the presence of God.  It might be through an exploration of various prayer practices, or another interactive or contemplative way. Faith Formation at it’s best.

Attend the Shine Launch on Sunday, June 22 from 3 – 6 pm at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, KS.  Sing, Worship, Explore, Learn and eat together as we celebrate this new faith formation tool!

May you invest in Shine! May you invest in the Faith Formation of the children in your congregation!  May you invite God’s presence and the Spirit’s nudging as you make plans to begin this new chapter in congregational life.

Visit the site for all kinds of great information: