Resonate now one year into its work

News Release: September 19, 2017

Resonate now one year into its work
Various products in the collection come into focus

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA—Members of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee are now one year into their work toward a new hymnal.

At a recent meeting at Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Michigan, the committee processed more than 220 songs and reflected on the past year of learning and working together.

“In the last year we established productive committee and subcommittee structures, and all those subcommittees have developed a clear sense of purpose,” said Bradley Kauffman, general editor.

“We did some important calibrating of our process at this most recent meeting, successfully testing models to evaluate contemporary worship music, global songs, new texts, and harmonizations—as well as discussing many songs from our existing collections.”

The 13-member volunteer committee, working under the name Resonate Team, is discerning content for the 2020 release of a suite of new worship and music materials to be published by MennoMedia in cooperation with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

“Being in a camp setting offered an immersive retreat space allowing our committee to share deeply together in work, in worship, and in song,” Kauffman added.

Amy Gingerich, editorial director at MennoMedia, brought a report about the various products that will be included in the new worship and song collection.

  • Pew edition: The new pew edition hymnal is projected to be about 30 percent larger than the current Hymnal: A Worship Book. In addition to music, great care is being given to worship resources for the future church and this volume will contain more resources than previous collections.
  • Projection edition: The same content that is in the pew edition will also be available to congregations in the form of a projection edition. Right now MennoMedia plans to have PDF and PowerPoint versions of the songs available in the projection edition, recognizing that technology needs continue to evolve and therefore other platforms may be found to be preferable by 2020.
  • Worship resources leader edition: A separate volume of expanded worship resources is being planned for pastors and worship leaders.
  • Accompaniment edition: The committee is pursuing various options for a keyboard accompaniment edition, and expects to offer increased musical accompaniments.
  • App edition: MennoMedia will contract to produce an app edition offering access to several products surrounding the worship and song collection. While the app itself will be free, customers must purchase the hymnal, the worship resources edition, or the accompaniment edition within the app to enjoy the content.

“We are excited about all these products, and the potential that each has to energize and enliven worship,” Gingerich said. MennoMedia will release final pricing and product details sometime in 2019.

Enjoy and share a video from the group’s recent committee work together. 

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Mennonite Worship and Song Committee first meeting Sept. 22-25

Photo News Releases
September 28, 2016

[Photo 1]

16-09-21-parkview-mc-imgp1551-72dpiAdam Tice, left, gathers input from Karen Moshier-Shenk, a member of Park View Mennonite Church at the songfest prior to the start of Mennonite Worship and Song Committee meetings in Harrisonburg, Va. September 22-25, 2016. Tice noted that for him, as an ethnic Mennonite who never was actually a part of the Mennonite church until he got to Goshen College, “Hymnal: A Worship Book shaped my life and has made me a Mennonite. I find it energizing and exciting to be a part of this committee.” SaeJin Lee said of Bradley Kauffman’s leadership as project director: “I’m appreciating Bradley’s leadership and non-anxious spirit; he’s creating room for honest discussion of issues and is comfortable not having things all figured out.” Mike Erb added, “The diversity and experience each one brings makes me very hopeful and very energized for the task.” The new music and worship resources collection is planned for release in 2020.

[Photo 2]

160923-hymnal-committee2-imgp1633-72dpi

Members of the of the new Mennonite Worship and Song Committee take a break at their first meeting September 22-25, 2016 at Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Va. Committee members include (first row left to right): Bradley Kauffman, project director; SaeJin Lee; Karen Gonzol, editorial assistant; Katie Graber;  Adam Tice, text editor; Emily Grimes; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor. Second row, Amy Gingerich, editorial director for MennoMedia; Cynthia Neufeld Smith; Mike Erb; Tom Harder; Darryl Neustaedter Barg; Paul Dueck; Benjamin Bergey, music editor, and Anneli Loepp Thiessen.

For more information: http://www.heraldpress.com/HymnalProject/ 

High resolution photos available upon request.
For more information on photo news release:

Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Photos by Merrill Miller

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen Facebook Page Hits 1000 Likes & More

Several months ago Amy Gingerich, our editorial director, told you about Lovina’s Amish Kitchen–our new venture syndicating newspaper columnist Lovina Eicher. (She had previously written for 12 years as The Amish Cook, handled by a different syndicate.)

So in a step of faith, we launched her new column in July, started a website for it, and began a Facebook page and Twitter account. It is so curious and fascinating to personally use some of the newest media and technologies available while working alongside a writer who writes by gaslight and pen and paper. (I know, there are things lots newer than Twitter, but we’re running as fast as we can to keep up!)

Lovina-02

We’ve been buoyed and excited to see the growth of Lovina’s Facebook page for the column. Some of her friends with access to technology keep her a bit in the loop, so even though she does not engage directly through these electronic media, she knows what’s going on, responds to letters sent to her with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and is deeply grateful for the outpouring of support.

This past Monday the Facebook page for Lovina’s Amish Kitchen passed 1000 likes, which is a nice big marker. When Amy sent word to Lovina to let her know about the 1000 likes, she was extremely gladdened as well. It is amazing because we have not done anything special to promote the Facebook page: we have not purchased ads, have not run contests, have not begged people to like it (other than when it first launched, a few staff sent the typical “suggested likes” to some friends). It has grown organically, one “like” at a time.

IzzyCelebrating

Can you spot the dog? Izzy, the Eicher family pet, celebrates 1000 FB likes in the autumn leaves.

Curious, we posted a little poll on Facebook. Some 46 people responded to this question:

We love that this Facebook page is growing very fast and are curious as to how you find it. Comment please? 1. From a newspaper where you now read Lovina’s column 2. From the website for Lovina’s Amish Kitchen 3. Just from being a longtime reader/fan 4. When a friend of yours likes the page or shares it 5. Random — you don’t know

Here is how people responded:

  1. From a newspaper where you now read Lovina’s column – 6 2. From the website for Lovina’s Amish Kitchen – 7 3. Just from being a longtime reader/fan – 11 4. When a friend of yours likes the page or shares it – 7 5. Random — you don’t know – 2

Of course some of these “stock” answers did not fit all situations so there were these additional categories that I grouped together.

  1. Searching online – 4 7. Came up on Facebook – 11 8. All of the above – 1 9. Other – 1

The fact that many are longtime fans (and some listed multiple numbers for their response) did not surprise me. Many had previously followed Lovina’s mother’s column. (Before Lovina wrote as The Amish Cook, her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, was the author of that column.) What did surprise me was that her page came up as a suggestion on Facebook. Like I said, we did not buy ads or sponsor the suggestions, so apparently the algorithms connected to people already liking other Amish-related Facebook pages caused the suggested “like” to show up.

To read the actual comments from fans, you can like Lovina’s Amish Kitchen Facebook page and go to October 24. You’ll find some fun and interesting comments, including from friends, relatives, neighbors. My favorite was a comment from Cherie Kreutziger:

“Always used to see her column on another Amish site … used to race home from work to read her letter and see the recipe. When I didn’t see it, I was rather upset. LOVE it … thank you for getting her on the net and sharing on Facebook. Now I can visit her website each and every day and reread maybe what I didn’t see the 1st time. Thanks again. God bless.”

While we run two other Facebook pages with over 1000 likes (this morning MennoMedia has 1768 and Third Way has 1123), Lovina’s has grown the fastest and we hope and trust the trend will only continue. (If you’ve joined Facebook, we appreciate you liking these pages as well. It’s one small free thing you can do to help support this ministry!)

Why go on about this? What does the popularity of this column and Facebook page say about our culture’s fascination with the simple and hardworking life of our cousins in the Anabaptist faith tradition? Is it our yearning for simplicity, faith, values, family? All of the above? What do you detect?

At MennoMedia and our book imprint Herald Press, we don’t see ourselves jumping on a recent bandwagon. Over the years, we have published dozens of titles relating to Amish, plain, and conservative Anabaptist groups, helping people understand and interpret this precious and Christian heritage. Just last week one of our editors, Valerie Weaver-Zercher, wrote about our newest book series, Plainspoken, but before that there were many other titles. Below is just a sampling of them.

Novels:

Children’s books:

Cookbooks:

  • Amish Cooking (no longer in print)

Nonfiction and memoir:

Lovina’s columns really function as a letter from home. In our society, that’s almost a relic. Will your children have letters from you? Lovina’s columns all end with a recipe—the promise of a good home-cooked dish or treat. Will your children have memories of home-cooked dishes you served?

Pretzels

Lovina’s column hits on two basics of our stock in trade: faith and food. I wouldn’t want to live without either. Would you?

P1050565Melodie Davis, author of Whatever Happened to Dinner?, editor, columnist