Outreach magazine selects The Bible Unwrapped as a top theology/biblical studies resource for 2019

News Release – March 5, 2019

Outreach magazine selects The Bible Unwrapped as a top theology/biblical studies resource for 2019

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Outreach magazine annually lists some of the best new outreach-oriented books and curricula for church leaders by honoring them as Outreach Resources of the Year.

Out of 170 resources in consideration, The Bible Unwrapped: Making Sense of Scripture Today, by Meghan Larissa Good and published by Herald Press, was chosen, named one of the two top books in the theology/biblical studies category. The other book named to that category was How to Read Theology by Uche Anizor (Baker Academic).

There are 11 categories on the resource list. An expert in each category evaluated the resources and chose what they considered to be the best. The complete list can be found at OutreachMagazine.com in the Resources section.

Outreach magazine offers ideas, insights, and stories of and for today’s outreach-oriented, Bible-based churches. Founded in January 2003 by church communications company Outreach Inc., Outreach is an award-winning, bimonthly periodical and is available by mail subscription and online.

Author and speaker Dottie Escobedo-Frank says of The Bible Unwrapped, “You need this book in your church and in your work with people who are searching for answers. It is the missing piece for our discussions on current topics and the Bible.” And author and pastor Gregory A. Boyd writes in the foreword, “I have read countless books that introduce readers to the Bible. I can honestly say that I have found none as enjoyable to read—without sacrificing anything by way of biblical scholarship—as this one.”

Herald Press publishes books on reconciliation, community, discipleship, mission, spirituality, theology, and Amish and Mennonite life and faith.

Meghan Larissa Good

To schedule an interview with author Meghan Larissa Good, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org. The Bible Unwrapped is available from Herald Press for $17.99 (paperback) and $13.99 (ebook) via 800-245-7894 and at the Herald Press webstore, www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877-846-1593), Parasource (800-263-2664), and elsewhere.

What if prayer could be simple rather than strenuous?

News release

February 18, 2019

What if prayer could be simple rather than strenuous?

Cyzewski teaches contemplative prayer in Flee, Be Silent, Pray

HARRISONBURG, Va.— Ed Cyzewski found himself working harder and harder to find God, until he turned to contemplative prayer. The Christian prayer tradition, primarily preserved in monasteries, was the answer he didn’t want to find. In Flee, Be Silent Pray: Ancient Prayers for Anxious Christians (Herald Press, February 2019), the former Catholic turned Evangelical Christian moves beyond his past grudges to learn Christian meditation and contemplative prayer from Catholic teachers.

Going beyond the limits of Bible study and experiences, daily contemplative prayer helps believers rest in God’s loving presence. With the words flee, be silent, pray, Cyzewski found what it means to quiet his religious anxiety by resting in God’s love.

“Contemplative prayer tells us that we can’t add anything to what we already have in Christ,” writes Cyzewski. “We can’t do anything different to make God love us more, and we probably need to buy and own fewer things in order to minimize our distractions. Contemplation is about doing less so that God can do more.”

Anxious evangelicals and Christians on the brink of losing their faith will find an accessible path toward using this simple, proven approach to daily prayer. With helpful guidance into solitude, contemplative prayer, and practices such as lectio divina and the Examen, Cyzewski guides readers toward the Christ whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.

Jon M. Sweeney, author of The Pope’s Cat series, writes in the book’s foreword, “I was penciling ‘Yes!’ in the margins throughout Flee, Be Silent, Pray: it’s like a toolkit of implements we all can use to shape our souls and change the world.”

Ed Cyzewski is the author of A Christian Survival GuideCoffeehouse Theology, and other books. His writing has appeared in Christianity Today and Leadership Journal, and he blogs regularly at Patheos. Cyzewski founded The Contemplative Writer website and leads contemplative prayer retreats. Cyzewski has a master of divinity from Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and works as a freelance writer and editor. He and his wife have three children. Connect with him at EdCyzewski.com.

To schedule an interview with Ed Cyzewski, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

 

Music and worship leaders gather at Laurelville conference

News release

January 18, 2019

Music and worship leaders gather at Laurelville conference

Eagerness mounts for Voices Together hymnal coming in 2020

MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa.—“I’m amazed at the exhilaration that comes from a room full of voices singing together,” said Brent Alderfer, a member of Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, Pa. and part of a group of 11 persons from that congregation who joined the annual Laurelville Music and Worship Leaders Retreat in western Pennsylvania in early January.

Anticipation and energy for the new Voices Together music and worship collection, which is nearing the end of the research, song collection, and testing phase, was in high gear at Laurelville. A video of singing, plus a photo gallery by photographer Kreg Ulery of participants enjoying the worship, music, and jam sessions can be found on the website for the hymnal at voicestogetherhymnal.org.

Over 150 participants gathered to test and explore songs in strong consideration for the upcoming hymnal. The retreat focused on sections of the book from “Creation” through “Reign of Christ.”

Attendees learned about the joys and challenges of shaping a worship book for the 21st century church and examined leadership skills to take back to home congregations. Emily Rittenhouse, from Blooming Glen, noted, “I got a better grasp of what an enormous undertaking this has been for the team, and how much that has pulled them away from other important things in their lives.” She added, “It is a sacrifice and a gift that will be interwoven into the songs we sing for decades to come.” Project director Bradley Kauffman estimates the team has reviewed at least 5000 pieces of music.

Michael Bishop, pastor of music, worship and pastoral care at Blooming Glen is enthusiastic about the new collection. “Voices Together will honor our past peoplehood, provide tools for living in these days, and draw us toward the work of God, who is always leading into a new creation,” he said. He notes that the team from their church included choir singers, song leaders, and those involved in leading worship. Robin Schilling, a leader from Blooming Glen added, “I was inspired with new ideas for the coming year.”

Tom Lehman, a member of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in Durham, N.C. mentioned, “We were encouraged in considerable detail to sing songs in more than our own native language. The idea, of course, is inclusivity.” Alderfer affirmed, “Singing connects us to people around the world.”

Adam Tice, text editor for the hymnal, suggested that a suitable hymn collection should probably include at least a few hymns that the individual user does not appreciate, always mindful that any particular song may be someone else’s “heart” song which resonates deeply with them.

Mark Diller Harder, pastor of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church in Ontario said “I am filled with deep confidence and trust in this dedicated team. There is thoughtfulness and intentionality that balances continuity and change, all with an openness to the Spirit’s leading.”

Pre-orders and final pricing will be available this summer at the Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA gatherings in June and July, respectively.

 

Staff Release
Mennonite Media
More information: LeAnn Hamby at 540 908 3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.