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Writers begin work on Mennonite Schools Council’s new Bible curriculum

8.5. 2016 Written By: Jenny Castro, Mennonite Education Agency 962 Times read

Photo: At the July 11–15 Mennonite Schools Council Bible curriculum writers’ gathering, high school curriculum writers share ideas with Bill Hartman of Everence. From left to right: Josh Weaver, Bethany Christian Schools, Goshen, Indiana; Alma Ovalle, Sarasota (Florida) Christian School; Kirby King, Dock Mennonite Academy, Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Bill Hartman, Everence; Sheri Wenger of Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Mennonite School. (Photo by Gary Hiller, Lancaster Mennonite School)

Seventeen curriculum writers gathered July 11–15 at Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Mennonite School, Lancaster Campus, to begin work on a new PreK- 12 Bible curriculum for Mennonite Schools Council (MSC).

The curriculum will be ready for distribution among MSC schools next year, and available more broadly for purchase in 2018.

“Developing a teacher-friendly Bible curriculum that engages students has been a critical goal of MSC for many years,” said Elaine Moyer, senior director of Mennonite Education Agency and co-chair of the steering committee for the Bible curriculum project. “Over the years, MSC has developed Bible and church history curricula for both the elementary and secondary school levels, but neither has been updated for quite some time.”

Moyer and co-chair J. Richard Thomas, superintendent of Lancaster Mennonite Schools, worked together with the steering committee and MSC school administrators to form five working groups by grade level: PreK, K–2, 3–5, 6–8 and 9–12.

“I believe this curriculum will serve our schools well because it is organically developed by faculty who are committed Anabaptist Christians,” said Thomas. According to Moyer, the curriculum will be theologically grounded in Mennonite World Conference’s “Shared Convictions of Global Anabaptists” and Palmer Becker’s three core distinctives of Anabaptist-Mennonite faith, as articulated in Mennonite Church USA’s Purposeful Plan: Jesus is the center of our faith, community the center of our lives and reconciliation the center of our work.

Thomas said that while the curriculum will be theologically based on Anabaptist Christian faith, it will maintain a broader appeal that is both inclusive of and invitational toward evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants and students with no faith affiliation. The Bible curriculum writing project is sponsored by MSC and Everence.

During the writers’ gathering on Wednesday, Everence Vice President of Organization and Fiduciary Services Bill Hartman joined the group for a time of worship.

“We see the curriculum creating and deepening the understanding of Anabaptist-Mennonite faith distinctives for students, families and communities,” said Hartman. “This is good for the world, even beyond the Anabaptist-Mennonite community.”

Curriculum writers will meet for another week in summer 2017 to finalize the curriculum for release.

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