Six-session handbook released to accompany Smart Compassion

News Release 
May 31, 2107

Six-session handbook released to accompany Smart Compassion
Tools for moving beyond random acts of kindness

HARRISONBURG, Va. — A new handbook to complement Wesley Furlong’s book Smart Compassion: How to Stop “Doing Outreach” and Start Making Change has been released this May. The six-session guide includes Scriptures, discussion questions, prayer prompts, diagrams, and practical action points for engaging in a community and helping families and neighborhoods to flourish. The study guide also features QR codes that lead readers to web-based resources such as tools for community mapping and strengths-based assessments.

The study guide will help churches, ministry teams, small groups, and individuals go from “doing outreach” to embodying healing presence, living out radical hospitality, and working toward collective empowerment. Designed to be used along with Furlong’s Smart Compassion (Herald Press, February 2017), the 80-page study guide includes these six sessions:

  1. What Should We Expect?
  2. The Posture of Compassion
  3. The Gift of Attention
  4. Boundary-Shifting Love
  5. Spend Yourself Well
  6. To What End?

Steve Corbett, coauthor of When Helping Hurts, says that Furlong’s work is “built on important and well-recognized principles” and “provides pathways and inspiration to move us to be with and walk with people.” Minister and civil rights activist John M. Perkins says of Smart Compassion: “Don’t read [it] if you want your church to remain safe and comfortable. Read it if you want to fully immerse yourself in God’s plan for mercy, justice, and healing in your neighborhood.”

Both books are available from Herald Press at 800-245-7894 or www.HeraldPress.com. Smart Compassion is available for $15.99 USD ($12.99 USD ebook; $28.99 USD hardcover), and the handbook is $9.99 USD. Discounted rates for bulk orders are available.

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.

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

Resonate receives Calvin Grant: Committee undertakes intentional study of worship

News Release: May 16, 2017

Resonate receives Calvin Grant
Committee undertakes intentional study of worship

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA— The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee has received an $18,000 grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship as part of Calvin’s Vital Worship Grants Program.

This grant will enable the committee—working under the mantle Resonate—to work with congregations in Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada to celebrate and teach the richness of culturally diverse singing practices that deepen community life and connection with God.

“Since we don’t all identify as hymn singers, this study will help bring a breadth of worship practices and needs more clearly into focus. A single hymnal cannot serve every congregation, so we hope to build something representative of a range of practices that are giving life to Mennonite worship,” said Bradley Kauffman, project director.

The grant will allow three committee members to travel to six musically and racially diverse Mennonite congregations across the United States and Canada. In each place committee members will join the congregation in singing, worship, and listening for what makes songs and liturgical practices meaningful. In addition to gathering possible resources for a new song collection to be released in 2020, this grant will make possible a video featuring stories and songs shared by the congregations.

“I’m excited to learn more of the breadth and depth of what ‘Mennonite music’ is. I’m hopeful that sharing stories about meaningful songs will lead to new perspectives and experiences of the divine,” said Katie Graber, who chairs the intercultural worship subcommittee and will spearhead the grant project.

Resonate was one of 33 projects chosen to receive a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. These projects have a variety of emphases—visual arts, storytelling, music, preaching, contemplation and more—but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.

Said Kathy Smith, director of the Vital Worship Grants Program: “These collaborative projects bring people together to study, plan and create, foster new learning and nourish intergenerational community in worship.”

This year’s Vital Worship Grant recipients are from around North America and include 20 congregations, one high school, four colleges and universities, three seminaries, and five other organizations—including MennoMedia on behalf of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee. Each grant will fund a year-long project (beginning in June) that promotes vital worship and faith formation, and this year’s awards range from $6,000 to $18,000 per project.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, see calvin.edu/worship. For more information about Resonate or to schedule an interview, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Live Your Call latest in annual Mennonite Women’s Bible study series

May 16, 2017

Live Your Call latest in annual Mennonite Women’s Bible study series
Series empowers women to use their gifts to further God’s kingdom

HARRISONBURG, Va.—What part do we play in God’s plan for our lives? Getting caught up in day-to-day routines, many may miss out on opportunities to use gifts to further God’s kingdom.

MennoMedia’s new Bible study guide, Live Your Call, encourages women to look for these promptings in their lives. This Bible study guide is the latest in the Mennonite Women’s Bible study series produced annually in conjunction with Mennonite Women Canada (MW Canada) and Mennonite Women USA (MW USA).

Author Anna Liechty Sawatzky draws from the gospel stories to inspire women to share the gospel and follow God’s leading for their lives. Noting Jesus’ personal interactions, such as with the Samaritan woman at the well, and the large-scale miracles, such as the feeding of the five thousand, the sessions are designed to challenge and inspire. The study includes opportunities for reflection and response, and the sessions aim to give a balanced picture of the complexity and vitality of following God’s call.

Live Your Call can be used for individual study and for group settings such as Sunday school, Bible studies, and retreats. The 12-session study also includes a full worship service, in keeping with previous studies in this series.

This book and others in the Mennonite Women’s Bible study series are available from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org

MennoMedia Staff
High-resolution photos available