How small movements can produce larger change

June 7, 2018

News Release

How small movements can produce larger change

HARRISONBURG, Va.— In Soul Force: Seven Pivots toward Courage, Community, and Change (Herald Press, June 2018) two nationally recognized nonprofit leaders, Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry, offer seven “pivots”—shifts in thinking and practice—that bring transformation in individuals, communities, and systems.

Building on Mahatma Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King’s concept of a power mightier than ourselves, Soul Force helps readers understand and make shifts including progression from barriers to bridge-building, self-centeredness to solidarity, consuming to creating, and maintenance to movement. The authors include true stories from their community, professional, and church work. “Soul force is an awakening to the realization that we have a creative force within us, because we all bear the divine imprint of the Creator,” the authors write. “Soul force is a courageous, compassionate love that leads to personal and social transformation.”

Leroy Barber, executive director of The Voices Project, says of the book, “Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry are grassroots leaders who were living out Soul Force long before they wrote about it. If you want to unleash the power of change in your life and community, this book is a roadmap.” The book is geared for church and wider audiences alike.

Michelle Warren, author of The Power of Proximity praises Soul Force as “a clear call to action for individuals and communities. The authors remind us that small, intentional pivots can make a significant impact for change.”

Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry

Reesheda Graham-Washington is executive director of Communities First Association, a faith-based nonprofit committed to asset-based community development, and the founder CEO of L!VE Café, a boutique coffeehouse that focuses on transformation. She is licensed in the Evangelical Covenant Church and is a former teacher and administrator for Chicago Public Schools. She and her husband have three daughters and live in Chicago.

Shawn Casselberry is executive director of Mission Year, a yearlong urban ministry program focused on Christian service and discipleship. He is author of God is in the City: Encounters of Grace and Transformation. He has a master’s degree in world missions and evangelism from Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Jen, live on Chicago’s West Side.

Soul Force is available from Herald Press for $16.99 (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.

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

Voices Together announced as title for new hymnal

Matching gift campaign for hymnal launched by Everence and MCC U.S.; option for matching gifts also launches in Canada

HARRISONBURG, Va.—The new worship and song collection for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada will be called Voices Together.

“In early February more than 900 people responded to a title and cover survey we released via our MennoMedia Facebook page,” said Amy Gingerich, executive director and publisher at MennoMedia. “Of the four title choices offered, Voices Together was the clear favorite.”

Simultaneously, MennoMedia announces the launch of a final fundraising phase for the project, called “Voices Together, Giving Together.”

As of mid-May, $465,000 toward the $700,000 fund-raising goal had been pledged or given for Voices Together. As a small church agency, MennoMedia does not have the cash reserves to undertake such a large project and is working to cover all development costs for this hymnal with donations.

Gingerich said Everence® and Mennonite Central Committee U.S. have stepped up as partners in this final fund-raising phase to complete the work on Voices Together, offering a combined $100,000 matching gift for any new donations to the hymnal project. “This will be a dollar-for-dollar match, open to anyone, beginning immediately,” she explained.

In Canada, an anonymous family foundation in Ontario has also generously offered to match all donations to Voices Together, up to $15,000. This too is a dollar-for-dollar match and open to anyone, beginning immediately.

“I believe these very generous matching gifts will spur generosity across the church to help MennoMedia finish off the new hymnal,” Gingerich remarked in announcing the campaign. “Like MennoMedia, Everence and Mennonite Central Committee care about the life and vitality of our congregations, where music is a key element of worship. Their joint financial support helps ensure that the final worship and song collection will be affordable for congregations.

Voices Together is an exciting new worship and song collection that will deepen our lives of faith,” added Ken Hochstetler, president and CEO of Everence. “In support of the financial wellbeing of congregations and church members across denominational and cultural lines, we’re glad to support MennoMedia’s efforts and to help make this resource available to all.”

Bradley Kauffman, general editor of Voices Together points out, “The church is made up of diverse, sometimes disparate voices. When we gather together for worship, we form the body of Christ. Voices Together celebrates the miracle that takes place when two or three form a communion of believers.”

Voices Together will include spoken words for worship, visual art, and songs. All of these together give shape to vibrant worship. The word voice is both a noun and verb. It is expansive, evoking ideas of both sound and conviction.

“The title Voices Together opens space for multiple dimensions of what we hope to offer in this new collection,” said Kauffman. “It honors the many voices in our churches and in our approaches to congregational song.”

Once the book had a title, senior designer Merrill Miller started on the book’s cover. Many colors were evaluated as possibilities, and purple was chosen as the final cover because of its worshipful connection.

The new Voices Together hymnal will be available in Fall 2020 in the following formats:

  • Pew edition
  • Projection edition
  • Large-print and keyboard edition
  • Musical accompaniment edition
  • Worship leaders edition
  • App

Gifts to the matching gift campaign “Voices Together, Giving Together” can be made at VoicesTogetherHymnal.org. Or mail checks to MennoMedia, P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22803 or to Mennonite Church Canada, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3P 0M4.

—Staff release

Paperback of Reunion releases along with study guide and online videos

May 15, 2018

Paperback of Reunion releases along with study guide and online videos

HARRISONBURG, Va., and HAMILTON, Ont.— In Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners, author Bruxy Cavey urges Christian readers to reexamine the gospel they thought they knew, and non-Christian readers to consider the message of Jesus for the first time.

Now releasing in paperback, Reunion demonstrates “evident goodwill, passion, and intriguing arguments” and uses “accessible prose laced with catchy subtitles, humor, and a touch of irreverence,” according to Publishers Weekly. Written for longtime Christians and skeptics alike, Reunion gives readers glimpses of a God who looks like Jesus and who replaces religion with himself.

In addition to the paperback edition of Reunion, a study guide has been released simultaneously. The eight-session guide will help church groups, book clubs, and groups of friends learn the real message of Jesus and how to share it with others. With discussion questions, Scriptures, and links to video content by Cavey, the Reunion study guide helps readers engage more deeply with the content of the book. The study guide includes a “study buddy” option, in which participants can team up with someone outside the group to talk about the ideas in the book.

Hardback, paperback, and white study guide.

In Reunion, Cavey guides readers with humor and warmth into investigations of the big Christian words—sin, salvation, incarnation, religion—and upends traditional definitions with surprising insights. Articulating the gospel in one, three, and thirty words, Cavey offers a concise and winsome summary of what he calls the most “piety-smashing news” ever. “The message and mission of Jesus is a universal rebuke to all religion, of his day and every day, including and especially the Christian religion,” Cavey writes.

Reunion and the study guide are designed for readers who have had negative experiences with the church, as well as for those who want to dive more deeply into the fullness of God’s love.

Cavey is the senior pastor of The Meeting House, 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 also wrote the bestselling The End of Religion. He and his wife, Nina, reside in Hamilton, Ontario, and have three daughters. Find him at Bruxy.com or TheMeetingHouse.com.

The study guide and new paperback version of Reunion sell for $9.99 and $16.99, respectively. The Reunion hardback is still available for $21.99 and is also available as an ebook for $13.99.

Contact LeAnn Hamby to arrange an interview with the author at Herald Press (540-908‑3941) or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.