Worship and Song Committee begins selection process

Worship and Song Committee met in Elkhart, Indiana in early February. Two previous directors of hymnal projects are seated in center front, Mary Oyer and Rebecca Slough.

News Release: February 9, 2017

Worship and Song Committee begins selection process

Subcommittees tasked with evaluating and tagging hymnal content

ELKHART, INDIANA— Practically speaking, how does a group of 13 people review thousands of pieces of music and worship resources in the next three years? This was the focus of conversation February 2–5, 2017, when the 13-member Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met in Elkhart, Indiana, at the offices of Mennonite Church USA.

To accomplish the giant task before them, the committee has divided into subcommittees organized into two tiers: content and delivery; and contemporary and intercultural worship. The subcommittees began evaluating and tagging content that fits the vision of the project.

“This meeting helped address questions about where we see the collection moving,” said Bradley Kauffman, project director and general editor. “A clear structure helps us choose the content for this new hymnal.”

The committee includes Kauffman and Karen Gonzol, editorial assistant, as staff, plus 12 volunteers: Adam Tice, text editor; Benjamin Bergey, music editor; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor. The remainder of the committee includes Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Paul Dueck, Mike Erb, Katie Graber, Emily Grimes, Tom Harder, SaeJin Lee, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, and Cynthia Neufeld Smith.

“This is a highly committed group of volunteers,” said Amy Gingerich, editorial director at MennoMedia who serves ex-officio on the committee. “The subcommittees really jelled around their shared purpose.”

Bradley Kauffman, project director, flanked by Rebecca Slough, left and Mary Oyer, right, key personnel for 1992 and 1969 hymnal collections, respectively.

Meeting highlights were an afternoon tea with Rebecca Slough and Mary Oyer, key figures in previous collections, including Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992) and Mennonite Hymnal (1969), and a session with David Eicher, who served as general editor for Presbyterian Publishing on its recent hymnal, Glory to God (2013). The group has plans to engage other leaders who have shaped Mennonite hymnody in future meetings.

The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is working toward a 2020 release of a new hymnal to be published by MennoMedia in cooperation with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. To submit content for consideration, visit http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org/.

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

 

 

 

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.

Mennonites Accepting Worship and Song Submissions and Recommendations for New Hymnal

News Release:

Mennonites Accepting Worship and Song Submissions and Recommendations for New Hymnal

Submissions open until December 31, 2017

HARRISONBURG, Va.—What songs connect you to God and your community, and empower you to serve? What songs do you turn to in joyful or difficult times? What are your heart songs?

These are questions the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is asking, inviting Mennonites to fill out a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MWSC_Heart_Song as it embarks on a listening and study phase toward developing a new hymnal collection, to be released in 2020.

“We want to hear from people across the church about the music and worship practices that sustain them,” said Project Director Bradley Kauffman. “We are developing intentional ways of listening, and are asking what existing content has the durability to enhance worship in coming decades.”

The new worship and song collection is being designed to succeed Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992), and its supplements Sing the Journey (2005), and Sing the Story (2007). This new collection will take into account the breadth of the Mennonite Church, the diverse ways Mennonites sing and worship, and will be available in bound and digital formats, along with an accompaniment volume. The collection is to be owned by, and available throughout the denominations. The survey is open to everyone who has specific ideas for a new collection. Those filling out the survey can recommend songs from existing Mennonite collections and beyond for inclusion in the new collection. The survey will remain open throughout 2017.

Another important element is a call for new and original content. Authors, songwriters, composers, and artists can submit their original work online at http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org. This online submissions portal will be active throughout 2017.

The committee hopes the portal will draw a diversity of material that creatively serves a broad spectrum of worshipers. Artists are invited to submit visual elements, too, as the committee considers ways various media enhance worship. The new worship and song collection will be published by Herald Press, the book imprint of MennoMedia as the denominational publisher for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

“We anticipate receiving thousands of submissions—songs, hymn texts, tunes, worship resources, orders of worship, ritual actions, and visual images—for our committee to review,” Kauffman added. “We hope to see a lot of interest among Anabaptist and Mennonite contributors as well as ecumenical sources.”

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.