Hymnal volunteer hours valued at $296,280 annually

News Release

August 29, 2018                                                                                                                  Hymnal volunteer hours valued at $296,280 annually

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Producing a new hymnal is a major undertaking. A project of this significance takes many hours and substantial funding. Before the Voices Together hymnal is ever produced, MennoMedia will spend approximately $700,000 in production and development costs.

As this significant monetary figure is one crucial part of the momentum behind Voices Together, it is worth remembering that many in-kind donations are essential for completing a project of this magnitude. The volunteer Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is contributing extraordinary levels of time and expertise to bring Voices Together to fruition. In addition to the 12 committee members, more than 50 other volunteers have contributed directly to the collection on subcommittees and as consultants, with many others making their voices heard through surveys, community events, and financial contributions to the project.

2016 photo of the volunteer Worship and Song Committee. At the far left are project director Bradley Kauffman and Amy Gingerich, executive director and publisher at MennoMedia, quoted in this news release.

The 12 members of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee have committed many hours to collection work. “Committee members and affiliated networks of scholars, writers, pastors, and musicians are donating an estimated 12,000 hours annually,” said Bradley Kauffman, project director for Voices Together. “Frequent video conferences, independent work, and three in-person meetings per year add up to a life-altering level of volunteer commitment for each member. They are giving an extraordinary gift to the Mennonite church.” The number of hours is likely to climb as the committee begins its third and most labor-intensive year of work in September.

The organization Independent Sector values volunteer time at $24.69 per hour. Applying this approximation to volunteer hours brings the annual monetary value of hours donated to the hymnal project to roughly $296,280.

“Every member of the committee is highly dedicated to this project, and each one brings expertise in specific areas. It has been amazing to see them bring their many gifts together for the benefit of the church,” said Amy Gingerich, executive director and publisher at MennoMedia. “As a small church agency, this project would not be possible without their volunteer hours, and we are so grateful for their work.”

MennoMedia is accepting donations for the new hymnal collection by check or online at VoicesTogetherHymnal.org.

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.

Is self-care selfish? Yamasaki shares how to “take care of yourself” and follow Jesus

Is self-care selfish?
April Yamasaki shares how to “take care of yourself” and follow Jesus

HARRISONBURG, Va. — We often hear the phrase “take care of yourself,” but how to find time to do that in today’s world? For many Christians, the idea of self-care sounds contrary to the command of Jesus to deny yourself and follow him. How exactly do believers balance these two seemingly opposite pursuits?

Author April Yamasaki explores this contradiction in Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength (Herald Press, September 2018). Yamasaki is a Mennonite pastor in British Columbia.

Drawing on the ancient scriptural command to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, Yamasaki helps readers think about the spiritual dimensions of attending to your own needs and finding true rest in a fast-paced world. She weaves together personal stories, biblical and theological insights, questions for reflection, and practical ideas for self-care. Four Gifts helps readers sustain their spirits and balance competing demands without adding more items to their to-do lists.

“I know I need self-care, yet can’t always get there,” writes Yamasaki. “I need a bigger vision of caring for myself that also embraces caring for others and surrendering myself to God’s call and care.”

Yamasaki addresses specific challenges like setting priorities, living in a digital world, dealing with worry, and getting a good night’s sleep. “Our minds find renewal as we learn, serve, and rest,” Yamasaki says. “At its best, self-care is a way of life, a gift that sustains each of us as we serve God and serve other people.”

“In Four Gifts, April’s powerful insights are on brilliant display,” says Christena Cleveland, author of Disunity in Christ. “With an integrative mind-body-spirit approach, Yamasaki leads us on a journey that is worth following.”

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of Start, Love, Repeat, writes that Four Gifts is “the most thorough and thoughtful exploration of self-care I have ever come across.”

Yamasaki focuses her writing on spiritual growth and Christian living. A member of Redbud Writers Guild, she is the author of, or contributor to, 15 books including Sacred Pauses, Upside-Down Living: Sharing Faith Stories, Spark: Igniting Your God-Given Creativity, and Ordinary Time with Jesus, among others. Her work has also appeared in the Christian Century and Canadian Mennonite. Yamasaki has more than 20 years of experience as a congregational pastor and leads workshops and Bible studies in denominational and other settings. She and her husband, Gary, live near Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Four Gifts is available from Herald Press for $16.99 (paperback) and $13.99 (ebook) at 800-245-7894 or at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877-846-1593), Parasource (800-263-2664), and elsewhere.

To schedule an interview with April Yamasaki, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540-908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.