What does it really take for our communities to flourish?

News Release

Revised January 30, 2017

Pastor shares strategy for how real change happens in new book, Smart Compassion

HARRISONBURG, Va.— What does compassion look like when the needs seem overwhelming? What is our role in the flourishing of our community? How does such work relate to worship?

Wesley Furlong’s Smart Compassion: How to Stop “Doing Outreach” and Start Making Change (Herald Press, February 2017) calls Christians to strategic, prayerful, and biblically based approaches to compassion.

“My hope for you is that in the face of personal struggles, limited time, complex needs, and endless options, you will develop a vision for how your community can thrive,” says Furlong. The book journeys through inspiring places and thought-provoking conversations on how and where good and necessary change happens.

A common thread in Smart Compassion is the potential of healing presence, radical hospitality, and collective empowerment. When these three forces come together, Furlong says, “You’ll see new life.”

Smart compassion is the full pursuit of a community’s flourishing in a spirit of worship and prayer. Smart compassion holds together justice and evangelism, wisdom and revelation, and the broadly communal and deeply personal aspects of life.

Furlong adds that “smart compassion is, put simply, ten thousand acts of authentic compassion that are strategic, well networked, and responsive to the real needs of a defined community.”

Editorial Director Amy Gingerich says that for churches who want to make a difference but are not quite sure how, Smart Compassion offers a contagious vision and practical steps for significant change. A companion handbook is planned for release May 2017.

Wesley Furlong is the founder and director of City of Refuge, a network for community transformation, and the director of church development for EVANA, an evangelical Anabaptist network of churches across North America. Furlong holds a master’s degree in theology from Emory University and is working toward a PhD in social work. He and his wife, Bonnie, have three children as well as an ever-changing number of foster children. Connect with him at WesleyFurlong.com.

To schedule an interview with Wesley Furlong, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Smart Compassion │ 9781513800394 │ 2/7/2017 │ $15.99 USD │ Paperback │176 pages│Herald Press

 

To purchase Smart Compassion call 800-245-7894 or go to www.HeraldPress.com 

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

January 18, 2017

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

90-day devotional connects quiet times with God to the rest of life

HARRISONBURG, Va.— Quiet times with God can feel disconnected from the rest of an overflowing day. Faith Sommers, a conservative Mennonite mother, wife, and columnist for Ladies Journal, a publication for Amish and Mennonite women has written a new book, Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother due out from Herald Press, February 2017.

The book contains 90 devotionals for women to help them connect with a simpler life.

Sommers firmly believes devotions should affect how Christians live their lives. “When I realize that God knows all about everything, I learn to trust in his grace and seek to obtain his wisdom so that each choice I make will lead me closer to him,” she explains.

The devotional book also includes prayers, journal prompts, and ideas for how to simplify life and strengthen faith. Above all, the author hopes Prayers for a Simpler Life guides readers toward a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.

“God’s goodness is not measured by the good things that come into my life,” Sommers says. “The good things do outnumber the bad, and I gratefully count my blessings. Yet, even in the setbacks, the disappointments, the sorrows, I know that God is good.”

Aimed at serious Christians who want to draw closer to God and actively serve Jesus, the book strives to put readers back in touch with many basics of Christian living. It is part of the Herald Press Plainspoken Series of books and devotionals.

Prayers for a Simpler Life includes a section “A Day in the Life of the Author,” as well as Q&A with the author answering common questions about plain Mennonites, including:

  • What is a Mennonite?
  • How do you differ from Amish?
  • Why do the women and girls wear those hats?
  • Don’t you get bored with your quiet lives?

Sommers and her husband, Paul, live in California and have six children between the ages of 6 and 21.

To schedule an interview with Faith Sommers, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Prayers for a Simpler Life │ 9781513801261 │ 2/21/2017 │ $12.99 USD │ Paperback │200 pages│Herald Press

Hymnal funding reaches the halfway mark

January 13, 2017
News Release:

Mennonites reach fundraising milestone
Hymnal funding reaches the halfway mark

HARRISONBURG, Va.— MennoMedia is halfway to its fundraising goal for the new hymnal collection project. As of January 2017, the organization has received $303,000 in gifts and faith promises, or 50 percent of the fundraising goal of $606,000. The new collection is scheduled for release in 2020.

While donors can give a gift of any amount, gifts or faith promises of $500 or more will be honored in the printed hymnal. Giving levels have been designated with musical terms for volume from piano (p) to fortissimo (ff).

Lead donors Ed and Carol Nofziger of Archbold, Ohio, have given $25,000 and intend to give a total of $100,000 toward the project. Goshen College, in partnership with College Mennonite Church and Greencroft Foundation, has pledged $25,000 to honor Mary Oyer, a fortissimo honoree. To commemorate their donation, the back of the new hymnal will include an image and a brief biography of Oyer. Mennonite Church Canada has also given $10,000 to support this project through an offering at the 2016 Assembly in Saskatoon and through its denominational budget under Faith Formation.

“Other colleges are considering naming ‘fortissimo honorees’ who were or are significant leaders in Mennonite church music,” says Steve Carpenter, MennoMedia’s director of development and church relations. “It is a beautiful way to commemorate the contribution of these musicians who added so much to our musical history.”

MennoMedia is accepting donations for the new hymnal collection by check or online at HymnalProject606.com. As the committee chooses the resources for the hymnal, Mennonites are also encouraged to visit the website to name their favorite song.

Those wishing to contribute new and original content can submit their work online at http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org. This online submissions portal will be active throughout 2017, and members of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee will be reviewing all submissions and making determinations for what is included in this forthcoming collection.

For more information about the Mennonite Worship and Song Collection project or to schedule an interview with Bradley Kauffman, project director, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.