Hymnal funding reaches the halfway mark

January 13, 2017
News Release:

Mennonites reach fundraising milestone
Hymnal funding reaches the halfway mark

HARRISONBURG, Va.— MennoMedia is halfway to its fundraising goal for the new hymnal collection project. As of January 2017, the organization has received $303,000 in gifts and faith promises, or 50 percent of the fundraising goal of $606,000. The new collection is scheduled for release in 2020.

While donors can give a gift of any amount, gifts or faith promises of $500 or more will be honored in the printed hymnal. Giving levels have been designated with musical terms for volume from piano (p) to fortissimo (ff).

Lead donors Ed and Carol Nofziger of Archbold, Ohio, have given $25,000 and intend to give a total of $100,000 toward the project. Goshen College, in partnership with College Mennonite Church and Greencroft Foundation, has pledged $25,000 to honor Mary Oyer, a fortissimo honoree. To commemorate their donation, the back of the new hymnal will include an image and a brief biography of Oyer. Mennonite Church Canada has also given $10,000 to support this project through an offering at the 2016 Assembly in Saskatoon and through its denominational budget under Faith Formation.

“Other colleges are considering naming ‘fortissimo honorees’ who were or are significant leaders in Mennonite church music,” says Steve Carpenter, MennoMedia’s director of development and church relations. “It is a beautiful way to commemorate the contribution of these musicians who added so much to our musical history.”

MennoMedia is accepting donations for the new hymnal collection by check or online at HymnalProject606.com. As the committee chooses the resources for the hymnal, Mennonites are also encouraged to visit the website to name their favorite song.

Those wishing to contribute new and original content can submit their work online at http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org. This online submissions portal will be active throughout 2017, and members of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee will be reviewing all submissions and making determinations for what is included in this forthcoming collection.

For more information about the Mennonite Worship and Song Collection project or to schedule an interview with Bradley Kauffman, project director, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Development phase launches website as Mennonite song collection project commences

Press Release
August 31, 2016

Development phase launches website as Mennonite song collection project commences
Song collection committee’s first meeting planned for September 22–25

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—A dedicated fundraising website for the new song collection for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada has been launched at HymnalProject606.com.

The fundraising phase is called Project 606, so dubbed from the anthem version of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” affectionately known as “606” from its designation in the red 1969 Mennonite Hymnal.

The fundraising goal is $606,000; funds are needed to help with development costs ahead of sales years.

MennoMedia is the agency taking leadership for the new hymnal. The project also anticipates a digital version of much of the music.

The 13-person song collection project committee comprised of both Canadian and U.S. citizens will meet for the first time September 22–25 in Harrisonburg.

About hymn “606,” Russ Eanes, MennoMedia’s executive director, notes he has been asked more than once, “When you do a new hymnal, can you put ‘606’ back in its place?”

The “606” song in a cappella form continues to inspire. On May 2, 2015, Garrison Keillor hosted his Prairie Home Companion radio program live from Goshen College. The show, which is broadcast nationally to an audience of four million, opened with the thousand-member, mostly Mennonite audience’s a cappella rendition of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” When the singing ended, Keillor said, “Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. You’re stunning me.”

In March 2016, Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg sponsored a concert of the British a cappella music group Voces 8. Their mix of sacred and pop music entertains audiences all over the world. As is customary toward the end of the EMHS concert, the again mostly Mennonite audience sang “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” in a cappella for Voces 8. As Eanes related, Voces 8 listened on stage in quiet appreciation. When the echoes of the final “Amen” receded, Voces 8 gave the crowd a loud ovation.

One member of the group, Ollie, was in tears. He later explained, “Sorry I was blubbing. Last year I was in a serious car accident, totaling my car. Amazingly, I wasn’t injured, but I blacked out. While I was unconscious, I had a strange sense of being taken care of in a special way. I felt held and looked after. It had a profound impact on me.” The audience’s singing of “606” again moved him, reminding him of God’s care.

Mennonites sometimes take beautiful singing for granted. “But we should never forget what a gift it is, and that this gift is so readily obvious to outsiders,” reminds Eanes.

To date, more than $235,000 has been given or promised, representing nearly 40 percent of the goal. HymnalProject606.com accepts credit cards; those who give $500 or more over the next three years can be named, or honor a loved one, with a line in the back of the hymnal. In addition to donations at the website, people can recommend favorite songs.

A separate song and worship resources collection website will be launched this fall, where writers, composers, and song writers will find submission guidelines.

MennoMedia Staff


High-resolution photos available.


For more information from Herald Press:

Melodie Davis

News manager