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

Pastor Bruxy Cavey unfolds the piety-smashing message of God in new book, Reunion

News Release
May 3, 2017

Has the church changed the message of Jesus?
Pastor Bruxy Cavey unfolds the piety-smashing message of God in Reunion

HARRISONBURG, Va. and HAMILTON, Ont.—Is it possible that over the centuries the church has altered the message of Christ? Has modern Christianity wrapped itself so tightly in a fragmented, inactive version of the gospel that the life-changing message of God has been smothered? Canadian pastor Bruxy Cavey thinks the answer is yes.

Cavey speaks to a new generation interested in Jesus but embarrassed by Christians in his latest book, Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners (Herald Press, May 2017).

“The message of Jesus changed the world . . . until the world changed the message,” says Cavey, bestselling author and teaching pastor at The Meeting House in Ontario, Canada. “But I’m happy to say that there is a growing movement of truth-seekers and Jesus-lovers who are calling for a return to the first and foundational good news message of Jesus. This book is inspired by them, and it is an invitation to join their ranks.”

In Reunion, Cavey explains why Christians shouldn’t follow the Bible—but why they will want to read it to learn how to follow Jesus. He encourages readers to discover their true citizenship in the Jesus Nation, where they might be ready to die for a cause but never willing to kill for one.

“One of the biggest obstacles to Christ has sometimes been Christians,” says activist and bestselling author Shane Claiborne in the foreword to Reunion. “We often look very unlike the Christ we worship. . . . Bruxy wants a Christianity that looks like Jesus again.”

The Meeting House is one of the largest churches in Canada, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. More than 10,000 people per week listen to Cavey’s podcast teachings, and his talks and sermons on popular topics garner as many as 40,000 downloads per day. Cavey is also the author of the bestselling book The End of Religion.

Cavey describes The Meeting House as a church for people who aren’t into church. It is a multisite Anabaptist congregation in eastern Ontario where thousands of people connect with God and each other through Sunday services, online interaction, and a widespread house church network.

Cavey was a keynote speaker at Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 2015. Learn more about Bruxy at Bruxy.com and about The Meeting House at Themeetinghouse.com. Bruxy and his wife, Nina, have three daughters and live in Hamilton, Ontario.

The book releases May 9, 2017, in the United States as a hardcover with dust jacket at $21.99 USD. It is available in Canada and elsewhere as an international trade paperback at $18.99 CAN. Reunion is also available as an ebook.

Canadian media contact:
Tara Hoyte
Graf-Martin Communications
(519) 342-3703 ext. 105 or tara@grafmartin.com

U.S. media contact:
LeAnn Hamby
Herald Press
(540) 908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

MennoMedia Staff
High-resolution photos available