Project 606 has a new website

We at MennoMedia recently launched a website to share information and allow individuals to contribute to the creation of a new song collection which we are developing for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. The site is


Project 606 is the name of the fundraising aspect of the development phase of the song collection. It was so named in recognition of the significance of the anthem version of the traditional “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” prayer, affectionately known as “606” from its designation in the red 1969 Mennonite Hymnal.

Mennonite Hymnal

The 13-person hymnal committee, whose work the funds being raised is underwriting, is comprised of five Canadians and eight U.S. citizens and will met for the first time on September 22-25 in Harrisonburg, Va.

About hymn “606,” Russ Eanes, MennoMedia’s Executive Director notes he has been asked more than once, “When you do a new hymnal, can you put ‘606’ back it its place?” The goal for Project 606 is to raise $606,000 to pay for the Project Director’s salary, the travel, lodging and meal expenses for the 13 person hymnal committee over three years, administrative and other staff support to develop a new hymnal for the next generation of Mennonites. We need to raise these funds because MennoMedia is a small publisher without the financial reserves needed to undertake such a big project ahead of sales.

Some have asked “Do we really need another hymnal?” to which I reply, it has been 24 years since Hymnal: A Worship Book (HWB) was released, a longer gap than the 23 years between the red Mennonite Hymnal (1969) and HWB (1992).

Hymnal A Worship Book

Churches have been asking whether they should replace their worn hymnals or wait for the next one. MC USA and Mennonite Church Canada have asked MennoMedia to produce a new hymnal. While at Mennonite World Conference in August, 2015 I noticed 60% of the music in the songbook was not in HWB, Sing the Story or Sing the Journey. These new songs greatly enhanced the corporate worship at MWC. The church is asking for a new song collection. We owe it to our faith communities to give them the best music resources available.

The “606” song, in a cappella form, continues to inspire, with stories abounding. On May 2, 2015, Garrison Keillor hosted his Prairie Home Companion radio program live from Goshen College. The show, which is broadcast nationally to an audience of four million, opened with the thousand-member, mostly-Mennonite, audience’s a cappella rendition of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” When the singing ended, Keillor said, “Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. You’re stunning me.”

In March of 2016, Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Va sponsored a concert of the British a cappella music group Voces8. Their mix of sacred and pop music entertains audiences all over the world. Toward the end, as is customary, the again mostly-Mennonite audience sang a cappella for Voces 8. This year the EMHS crowd sang “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” As Eanes related, Voces 8 listened on stage in quiet appreciation. When the echoes of the final “Amen” receded, Voces 8 gave the crowd a loud ovation.


One member of the group, Ollie, was in tears. He later explained, “Sorry I was blubbering. Last year I was in a serious car accident, totaling my car. Amazingly, I wasn’t injured, but I blacked out. While I was unconscious, I had a strange sense of being taken care of in a special way. I felt held and looked after. It had a profound impact on me.” The audience’s singing of “606” again moved him, reminding him of God’s care.

Mennonites sometimes take beautiful singing for granted. “But we should never forget what a gift it is and that this gift is so readily obvious to outsiders,” reminds Eanes.

To date more than $235,000 has been given or promised representing nearly 40 percent of the goal. The website accepts credit cards; those who give as little as $500 over the next 3 years can be named, or honor a loved one, with a line in the back of the hymnal. In addition to donations, people can recommend favorite songs for inclusion in the new hymnal. The committee has promised to consider each submission.

My wife and her five siblings have given a gift to honor their parents with a line in the back of the hymnal saying: Honoring our parents Russell & Gladys Alderfer, “Oh for a 1,000 tongues to sing.”

I encourage to honor your loved ones with a line in the new hymnal. Those in the U.S. can fill out the paperwork online, and both U.S. and Canadians can give using a credit card. Click here to visit the website

I will personally contact those Canadians who give through Mennonite Church Canada’s website – click here – to record their dedications for the back of the hymnal.

MC Canada DoveWM

Thank you for your gifts and support. It is much needed and greatly appreciated.

Blessings in your work, worship and witness,

Steve Carpenter

Steve Carpenter Director of Development and Church Relations

Director of Development and Church Relations

Why History Matters by Steve Carpenter

I am a first generation Mennonite. I grew up Presbyterian, coming to faith at an early age. As a young man, I followed my father and brother and served in the U.S. military. My father enlisted in the Army and served in the Air Corp during WWII.

George E. Carpenter US Army Air Corp. circa 1943

George E. Carpenter
US Army Air Corp.
circa 1943

My brother was a Naval Reserve Officer Training student at the University of Virginia before being commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy. I too followed their path and became an officer in the US Coast Guard, retiring with 20 years of service including three tours at sea.

Steve Carpenter Executive Officer Barque EAGLE 1990

Steve Carpenter
Executive Officer
Barque EAGLE

I came to the Mennonite Church through the influence of Myron Augsburger and others at Washington Community Fellowship, an inner-city church on Capitol Hill, started in 1981.

Myron Augsburger

Myron Augsburger

Washington Community Fellowship

Washington Community Fellowship







During the past decade and a half, I have been gathering pieces of my parent’s history and putting them on paper. I also just finished reading Song of the Redwing Blackbird, the self-published memoirs of Fern Lapp Bowman, a local Mennonite woman who grew up Amish Mennonite. Our parent’s history shapes our lives. It informs who we are and what we will become. It matters. Because of this we want to entrust our history to our children and grandchildren.

As a persecuted and immigrant community, many Mennonites seem particularly interested in preserving their collective history. As MennoMedia’s Director of Development and Church Relations, I travel extensively in the US and Canada. Everywhere I go I visit archives and historical displays. Recently I explored the Illinois Mennonite Historical Society in Metamora, Illinois. I was given a tour of the expansive facility by Director Julie Hendrick. She too was raised Presbyterian and has now embraced the Mennonite faith. The center’s collection is housed in three buildings: a restored Sutter barn, site of the Amish Mennonite Conference of 1875; a fascinating Schertz Grossdawdy (grandfather) House, restored and furnished in the style of the early 20th century when Christian and Magdalena Schertz lived there; and the main building which houses an extensive library and genealogical records along with a display upstairs.

Schertz Grossdawdy cottage

Schertz Grossdawdy cottage

Visitors are oriented to the history of Illinois Mennonites with a brief introductory film. Like most of the North American Mennonite History centers I have seen, this one operates with lots of volunteer help and minimal staff.

MennoMedia and Herald Press play an important role in preserving the collective history of Mennonite. To that end, on May 24, 2016 we will release In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in the Indian-Michigan Mennonite Conference, written by Rich Preheim.


This is the fiftieth volume in the Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History series which began in 1929 with Harold S. Bender’s Two Centuries of American Mennonite Literature. The series is sponsored by the Mennonite Historical Society. Some other titles include: C. Arnold Snyder’s The Life and Thought of Michael Sattler, 1984; John Ruth’s The Earth is the Lord’s, a history of Lancaster Mennonite Conference published in 2001; and last year’s volume—Peace Progress and the Professor: the Mennonite History of C. Henry Smith by Perry Bush.


MennoMedia is largely known as the home of Herald Press books, Shine Sunday school curriculum and the Third Way dot com website. However, the Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History series is another important piece of our work.

Thank you for engaging with MennoMedia here a blog reader. I hope you will also engage with us as a book reader, in prayer, and as a financial supporter. To donate to MennoMedia click here.


Blessings in your work, worship and witness,
Steve Carpenter

Steve Carpenter Director of Development and Church Relations

Steve Carpenter
Director of Development and Church Relations


“Every time I remember you …”

Letter from Russ Eanes

Like the apostle Paul, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3). I am writing today as the Executive Director of MennoMedia—home of Herald Press books, Shine Sunday school curriculum, and the Third Way website, to encourage you to support our ministry with your finances and prayers.

Just recently one of our books, Christian. Muslim. Friend., won the 2016 Book Award from Christianity Today in the category of missions/the global church. I am very grateful that at this critical hour our ministry is being recognized for doing outstanding work..ChrMuslimFr

This same book is now being translated into Slovakian to extend its reach even further. I met Alex Erdelyi (photo below) of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, at the Frankfurt Book Fair last fall, and he was highly interested in translating this groundbreaking book. Alex has been translating books for a long time—his first book, in fact, was a translation of Peace with God by Billy Graham, a book hand-typed and smuggled around his country at a time when Christian books were suppressed by the Communist government. I was only too glad to work with him on the publication of Christian. Muslim. Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship at the very time that countries in Eastern Europe are grappling with the daily arrival of hundreds of refugees from the war-torn Middle East, most of whom are Muslim. It is a very challenging time, but this book speaks directly to their situation.

Alex Erdelyi

Alex Erdelyi

The publication of a critically important work such as this does not happen without cost. We need many more donors and we invite you to join our family of supporters. Donations are a crucial component to support the ongoing mission of MennoMedia. If we are to continue providing the church with the faith formation materials it needs, as well as telling faith stories from a distinctly Anabaptist perspective, we need your help. We rely on people like you who love the Mennonite church and think it is important to share the gospel and faith stories through print and on the Internet.

Your gift now will make a difference in God’s work.

Thank you for reading this blog. Take the next step by sending a gift now. If you are a resident of the U.S. and wish to donate to MennoMedia, Click here to donate with PayPal.

If you are Canadian and wish to donate to MennoMedia, please click here. Your donation will be processed and receipted through Mennonite Church Canada.

Please join the company of those who support and pray for MennoMedia’s ministry. Without our donors we could not carry out this important work.

In Christ,DSCN1983

Russ Eanes

Executive Director, MennoMedia

P.S. Please help support our global ministry with a generous gift. Thank you ahead of time for your prayer and financial support.