Paperback of Reunion releases along with study guide and online videos

May 15, 2018

Paperback of Reunion releases along with study guide and online videos

HARRISONBURG, Va., and HAMILTON, Ont.— In Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners, author Bruxy Cavey urges Christian readers to reexamine the gospel they thought they knew, and non-Christian readers to consider the message of Jesus for the first time.

Now releasing in paperback, Reunion demonstrates “evident goodwill, passion, and intriguing arguments” and uses “accessible prose laced with catchy subtitles, humor, and a touch of irreverence,” according to Publishers Weekly. Written for longtime Christians and skeptics alike, Reunion gives readers glimpses of a God who looks like Jesus and who replaces religion with himself.

In addition to the paperback edition of Reunion, a study guide has been released simultaneously. The eight-session guide will help church groups, book clubs, and groups of friends learn the real message of Jesus and how to share it with others. With discussion questions, Scriptures, and links to video content by Cavey, the Reunion study guide helps readers engage more deeply with the content of the book. The study guide includes a “study buddy” option, in which participants can team up with someone outside the group to talk about the ideas in the book.

Hardback, paperback, and white study guide.

In Reunion, Cavey guides readers with humor and warmth into investigations of the big Christian words—sin, salvation, incarnation, religion—and upends traditional definitions with surprising insights. Articulating the gospel in one, three, and thirty words, Cavey offers a concise and winsome summary of what he calls the most “piety-smashing news” ever. “The message and mission of Jesus is a universal rebuke to all religion, of his day and every day, including and especially the Christian religion,” Cavey writes.

Reunion and the study guide are designed for readers who have had negative experiences with the church, as well as for those who want to dive more deeply into the fullness of God’s love.

Cavey is the senior pastor of The Meeting House, a multisite Anabaptist congregation in eastern Ontario where thousands of people connect with God and each other through Sunday services, online interaction, and a widespread house church network. Cavey also wrote the bestselling The End of Religion. He and his wife, Nina, reside in Hamilton, Ontario, and have three daughters. Find him at Bruxy.com or TheMeetingHouse.com.

The study guide and new paperback version of Reunion sell for $9.99 and $16.99, respectively. The Reunion hardback is still available for $21.99 and is also available as an ebook for $13.99.

Contact LeAnn Hamby to arrange an interview with the author at Herald Press (540-908‑3941) or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Resonate committee members visit diverse congregations as part of hymnal project

May 8, 2018

Resonate committee members visit diverse congregations as part of hymnal project

HARRISONBURG, Va.— Bradley Kauffman, Katie Graber, and Darryl Neustaedter Barg have traveled thousands of miles since last June just to listen.

The members of the Resonate team have visited nine congregations in five locations as they work with their 10 colleagues to curate and edit a new suite of worship and music materials to be published by MennoMedia in cooperation with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

An $18,000 Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship paid expenses for the three to travel to visit Mennonite churches in Texas, Montana, Florida, and California in the United States and Vancouver, British Columbia. Another trip is planned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“The grant came about because we were looking for ways to engage the breadth of Mennonites in MC USA and MC Canada,” said Kauffman, who is project director. “We want the new hymnal to reflect the diversity of the church.”

Members of the Primera Iglesia band (left to right) David Aldana, Luis Hoajaca, Ariel Hoajaca, and Patricio Fernandez describe what music in worship means to them (Vancouver, BC)

Members of the Primera Iglesia band (left to right) David Aldana, Luis Hoajaca, Ariel Hoajaca, and Patricio Fernandez describe what music in worship means to them (Vancouver, BC)

They’ve been able to observe and listen to how congregations with varied linguistic, racial, and cultural backgrounds sing and worship together, said Graber. They’ve visited worship services held in eight different languages, including Spanish, Korean, and Lingala. In Los Angeles, they heard six languages in just two congregations.

The visits augment the work done by the entire committee—whose members are visiting congregations in their own geographical areas in the United States and Canada to help guide the work of the hymnal project.

Singers (left to right) Herve Nkwansambu, Stockwell Massamba, and Tom Massamba of Wholicare Community Missionary Church (Pasadena, CA)

Singers (left to right) Herve Nkwansambu, Stockwell Massamba, and Tom Massamba of Wholicare Community Missionary Church (Pasadena, CA)

On the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Busby, Montana, tribal members gathered and sang Cheyenne heart songs on a Saturday night at the Mennonite church. “We were treated to an evening of storytelling and singing among an intergenerational gathering of the community,” Kauffman said. In worship the next morning, one woman shared how important it was to have heard and remembered the songs of her ancestors. “It was an honor to be part of this event that she described as a profound spiritual experience,” Kauffman added.

The trio has been warmly received and prayed for at every location. “That’s been a tremendous gift, and we are deeply grateful for prayers as we do this work,” said Kauffman.

Youth leader Ngun Du Sang sings from his hymnal during a Saturday evening prayer meeting at another Chin Emmanuel congregation member’s house (Houston, TX).

Youth leader Ngun Duh Sang sings from his hymnal during a Saturday evening prayer meeting at another Chin Emmanuel congregation member’s house (Houston, TX).

In that congregation and others, the trio from the hymnal committee heard different languages and learned how songs in Hymnal: A Worship Book are used or translated. “In almost every congregation we’ve visited, we’ve encountered familiar hymns that have been translated,” Graber said. As they visit Spanish-speaking congregations, they are finding that groups on opposite sides of the countries are singing many of the same songs. Their experiences have been informative as they seek to include meaningful translations in the new project.

Neustaedter Barg has been gathering photos and video of the various groups singing, and conducting interviews and recording video footage of worship services. “The plan is to have a set of videos available as a worship resource to the entire Mennonite church,” Graber said.

During each visit they hear and learn new songs and are then able to bring those songs back to the committee for consideration, Kauffman said.

As they sit and experience the music and as they eat at fellowship meals, they also think of how singing happens in all the churches they aren’t able to visit. “We could learn something new from every congregation,” Graber said.

The new Mennonite worship and song collection will be available to the broader church in fall 2020. The project—which will include a pew edition, an app, and other resources—will soon have an official name and logo. The working title of “Resonate” will be retired when the new name and logo are unveiled, said Amy Gingerich, executive director and publisher for MennoMedia.

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, makes grants possible with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540-908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.