Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Gather 'Round is 'starting over.'

Gather 'Round, a Christian education curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, is starting over. That is to say, the curriculum is completing its four-year cycle through the Bible, and returns this fall to Genesis.

As congregations launch into the next round of the curriculum, they will notice a few new features. The most visible change is a completely new version of the "Talkabout," the signature item that connects church and home.

Previously a three-dimensional item intended for congregations to purchase for each family, the "Talkabout" is now provided on CD or as a computer download so that material can be copied or e-mailed to families in weekly or monthly formats. Bonus content gives parents a summary of the Sunday school quarter, commentary on each week's Bible story, and additional items such as children's pages or articles for teachers. Congregations need to purchase only one copy of the CD per quarter, and may decide which format is best for their setting.

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. Previously the youth material for summer was a supplement to one of the other teacher's guides. The new "Summer Search" includes ways to adapt the material for junior high youth, and is provided on CD or as a download.

The multiage 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 outline, and there are two completely new quarters: "God's Good Creation" and "Stories of God's People."

Gather 'Round: Hearing and Sharing God's Good News, published by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is a Sunday school curriculum for children and youth and their families. Partner denominations include the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mennonite Brethren, Moravian Church in America, United Church of Canada, and United Church of Christ.

-- Anna Speicher is editor of the Gather 'Round curriculum.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline

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