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.

 

 

 

What does it really take for our communities to flourish?

News Release

Revised January 30, 2017

Pastor shares strategy for how real change happens in new book, Smart Compassion

HARRISONBURG, Va.— What does compassion look like when the needs seem overwhelming? What is our role in the flourishing of our community? How does such work relate to worship?

Wesley Furlong’s Smart Compassion: How to Stop “Doing Outreach” and Start Making Change (Herald Press, February 2017) calls Christians to strategic, prayerful, and biblically based approaches to compassion.

“My hope for you is that in the face of personal struggles, limited time, complex needs, and endless options, you will develop a vision for how your community can thrive,” says Furlong. The book journeys through inspiring places and thought-provoking conversations on how and where good and necessary change happens.

A common thread in Smart Compassion is the potential of healing presence, radical hospitality, and collective empowerment. When these three forces come together, Furlong says, “You’ll see new life.”

Smart compassion is the full pursuit of a community’s flourishing in a spirit of worship and prayer. Smart compassion holds together justice and evangelism, wisdom and revelation, and the broadly communal and deeply personal aspects of life.

Furlong adds that “smart compassion is, put simply, ten thousand acts of authentic compassion that are strategic, well networked, and responsive to the real needs of a defined community.”

Editorial Director Amy Gingerich says that for churches who want to make a difference but are not quite sure how, Smart Compassion offers a contagious vision and practical steps for significant change. A companion handbook is planned for release May 2017.

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. Furlong holds a master’s degree in theology from Emory University and is working toward a PhD in social work. He and his wife, Bonnie, have three children as well as an ever-changing number of foster children. Connect with him at WesleyFurlong.com.

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

Smart Compassion │ 9781513800394 │ 2/7/2017 │ $15.99 USD │ Paperback │176 pages│Herald Press

 

To purchase Smart Compassion call 800-245-7894 or go to www.HeraldPress.com 

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

January 18, 2017

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

90-day devotional connects quiet times with God to the rest of life

HARRISONBURG, Va.— Quiet times with God can feel disconnected from the rest of an overflowing day. Faith Sommers, a conservative Mennonite mother, wife, and columnist for Ladies Journal, a publication for Amish and Mennonite women has written a new book, Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother due out from Herald Press, February 2017.

The book contains 90 devotionals for women to help them connect with a simpler life.

Sommers firmly believes devotions should affect how Christians live their lives. “When I realize that God knows all about everything, I learn to trust in his grace and seek to obtain his wisdom so that each choice I make will lead me closer to him,” she explains.

The devotional book also includes prayers, journal prompts, and ideas for how to simplify life and strengthen faith. Above all, the author hopes Prayers for a Simpler Life guides readers toward a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.

“God’s goodness is not measured by the good things that come into my life,” Sommers says. “The good things do outnumber the bad, and I gratefully count my blessings. Yet, even in the setbacks, the disappointments, the sorrows, I know that God is good.”

Aimed at serious Christians who want to draw closer to God and actively serve Jesus, the book strives to put readers back in touch with many basics of Christian living. It is part of the Herald Press Plainspoken Series of books and devotionals.

Prayers for a Simpler Life includes a section “A Day in the Life of the Author,” as well as Q&A with the author answering common questions about plain Mennonites, including:

  • What is a Mennonite?
  • How do you differ from Amish?
  • Why do the women and girls wear those hats?
  • Don’t you get bored with your quiet lives?

Sommers and her husband, Paul, live in California and have six children between the ages of 6 and 21.

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

Prayers for a Simpler Life │ 9781513801261 │ 2/21/2017 │ $12.99 USD │ Paperback │200 pages│Herald Press