Harrisonburg, VA — MennoMedia has been awarded two grants from the Schowalter Foundation totaling $35,000. The funds include a $20,000 grant for youth curriculum and a $15,000 grant for Anabaptism at 500 children’s books.
With the $20,000 grant from the Schowalter Foundation, MennoMedia is creating a new module-based curriculum series to help Mennonite congregations reach youth grades 9–12. Research shows that today’s youth feel isolated and long for deeper connections. One in four teens and young adults report feeling lonely at least “a little.” They are hungry for togetherness and real experiences, yet for many, church does not feel relevant. Nearly 60 percent of all Gen Z respondents to a Barna poll agreed that “church is not relevant to me personally.” Youth leaders and pastors are searching for ways to respond and for resources that will help youth build deeper connections with their peers, other generations, and God.
Under the Shine curriculum imprint, the new module-based youth curriculum series will contain four to seven curriculum sessions rooted in Anabaptist faith and values. MennoMedia will begin testing and brainstorming with youth leaders, pastors, and youth to hone the scope and topics of this curriculum.
With the second $15,000 grant, MennoMedia is launching a children’s book line on Anabaptist history and values as part of its commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Anabaptism in 2025. Three children’s books are signed or in contract negotiations:
- A picture book that brings together Anabaptist past and present with a theme of piecing together stories of faith across the generations.
- A picture book that highlights 12 courageous Anabaptists in a simple cadence with whimsical illustrations.
- A picture book that tells the story of turning guns into garden tools from a child-centered focus on reconciliation and making peace.
Mennonite Publishing Network stopped publishing children’s books during the Great Recession of 2009. Currently, no Christian publishers are acquiring and publishing children’s books from a distinctly Anabaptist perspective for the wider trade market. MennoMedia is reentering the market, joining many other denominational and for-profit publishers that have launched Christian children’s book imprints or added a children’s line to their existing imprints in recent years.
MennoMedia is the publishing arm of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.