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

Herald Press to launch 40th anniversary edition of More-with-Less cookbook

News release
September 15, 2016

Herald Press to launch 40th anniversary edition of More-with-Less cookbook
Author Rachel Marie Stone updated content and recipes

more-with-less40th_cover_smHARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—How do you update the holy grail of thrifty and thoughtful cooking? Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less cookbook, compiled from hundreds of recipes submitted by Mennonite cooks around the world, has almost a million copies in print. But it is four decades old.

Leanne Brown, author of a cookbook titled Good and Cheap, was asked to write a foreword for the 2016 edition of More-with-Less. She suddenly realized the request brought to mind a sacred space in her own mother’s kitchen.

“This was the book my mother kept on the kitchen shelf,” Brown writes in the foreword to More-with-Less. “The kitchen shelf was sacred. Small and rickety as that shelf was, only that which was always in use deserved that hallowed spot. Seriously, you want me to write the new foreword for my mom’s kitchen shelf book? Sign. Me. Up.”


Rachel Marie Stone. Photo credit: Lisa Beth Anderson/Spark + Tumble (www.lbanderson.com)

Food writer Rachel Marie Stone, author of Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, was contracted to update and edit the 2016 edition of More-with-Less. The first edition launched before she was even born. Those of Brown’s and Stone’s generations think of More-with-Less as much more than a cookbook; they see it as a movement that now includes such terms as “slow food,” “locally sourced,” “hundred-mile diet,” “meatless Mondays,” and more.

The beginnings for the original cookbook were humble. Two families—including that of Doris and Paul Longacre—gathered around a picnic table and discussed global hunger and the world food crisis of 1974. The nonprofit Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) had asked constituents to examine their own food habits, and challenged people to “eat and spend 10 percent less—both as an act of voluntary simplicity in solidarity with people who were poor, and as a practical move toward actually consuming less of the world’s limited resource” writes Longacre in the book’s original preface.

Stones’s research for the new edition included a visit to Mennonite Central Committee U.S. headquarters in Akron, Pennsylvania, where she devoured Longacre’s original notes in a file on possible names for the book, along with an afterthought scribbling of the phrase “More-with-Less.”


Herald Press file photo

Stone also writes of Longacre’s death from cancer just three years after More-with-Less
was first published, when she was 39. “She could not have known that eating locally and seasonally would become a mark of hipness, and that many people would begin to spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking,” reflects Stone. The book champions “simple food, well prepared from whole, fresh ingredients, eaten with gratitude,” she writes.

New features include a new size, lay-flat binding, some new recipes containing fresh and healthy ingredients, updated nutritional information, and expanded cooking techniques. The recipes also include labels indicating vegetarian or gluten-free. Stone worked with an advisory group that included a dietitian, representatives from MCC and Ten Thousand Villages, and other cookbook users. Fans of More-with-Less helped choose which recipes to include through an online survey conducted in spring 2015.

Filled with colorful pictures of people and food from around the world, as well as recipe photos, the new volume still includes much of Longacre’s writings, including chapters on the idea of having less with more, making changes as an act of faith, tips on building a simpler diet, and eating with joy.

Theologian Malinda Berry, who also grew up eating many dishes from More-with-Less, says that “Longacre’s voice resonates with prophetic witness and pastoral concern for her neighbors both in North America and around the world.”

Longacre was also the author of Living More with Less, which her husband Paul completed during and after Longacre’s 31-month battle with cancer.


More-with-Less and the entire World Community Cookbook series is commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee, a worldwide relief, development and peacebuilding ministry of Anabaptist churches. All royalties benefit the work of MCC.

The new edition launches September 27, is 319 pages long (with indexes and notes), and is $22.99 USD. It is available from www.mennomedia.org or 1‑800‑245‑7894, as well as Amazon and other online and local bookstores.

MennoMedia Staff
High resolution photo available.

For more information on news release
Melodie Davis
News manager


“Hall of Nations” dedicated for Orie O. Miller at Eastern Mennonite University



New “Orie O. Miller Hall of Nations” in Eastern Mennonite University Commons

It is not every Mennonite who gets a “Hall of Nations”—filled with international flags—named after him or her at a Mennonite college. After all, this particular Mennonite died back in 1977, so his donating days are over, which is usually how you get things named after you.


Of course this particular man, Orie O. Miller, donated many many dollars and even more hours to multiple Mennonite institutions that he helped start, all documented with fascinating detail in the Herald Press biography published last year, My Calling to Fulfill: The Orie O. Miller Story, by historian John E. Sharp.


Biographer John Sharp at dedication service.

Almost one hundred years ago, in 1919, Orie was in the first group of nine Mennonite relief workers who went by ship to help refugees in Syria and Lebanon. This propelled him to later explore how Mennonites could help those suffering in Russia after World War I, and he eventually completed some 100 ocean crossings by boat for relief or mission work (before air travel).

The Orie O. Miller Hall of Nations was dedicated last week at Eastern Mennonite University as part of an Anabaptist Leadership Conference. I did not want to miss the service. Ever since I was a little girl I remembered my Mennonite-deacon-father quoting Orie Miller about this, or telling us how Orie Miller had begun that. Like thousands of others of his World War II Mennonite generation, Dad absorbed and conveyed to us the urgency of upholding and teaching peace as a lifestyle to later generations. Dad served four years in Civilian Public Service, the alternative to military service which Orie helped to establish with the U.S. government, because of deep and true understandings that Jesus would not have wanted them to fight in any war.


Edgar Stoesz, on MCC staff for 33 years, chatting with Dr. Lee M. Yoder after the service

I was not disappointed in the dedicatory gathering. I got to hear folks like Edgar Stoesz, who is one of the few living leaders who actually worked with Orie at Mennonite Central Committee at the Akron Pa. headquarters (their working paths crossed there only one year). MCC of course is one of a string of organizations Orie helped begin. Edgar told stories of the kind former co-workers tell, like the time Edgar grew a mustache. NO one liked Edgar’s mustache, least of all his wife, and eventually Edgar admitted it just didn’t work on him and shaved it off on a business trip. Orie, who was sometimes criticized for being stern or humorless, was speaking with Edgar at Edgar’s desk after he returned from his trip. At the end of the conversation Orie started to walk away and then turned, came back, and said “I had to see whether it was gone, or did I just wish it gone?”

Dr. Lee M. Yoder, former EMU vice president and currently chair of the Anabaptist Center of Religion and Society at EMU gave background on how the idea for an Orie O. Miller Hall of Nations came about. Yoder had worked in several international settings where national flags had been used to not only signal international interest and cooperation, but serve as a welcome and affirmation for persons from around the globe—in this case, learners coming to EMU whether as undergrads, grad students, or Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) participants.  This hall of colorful flags will certainly be a bright spot of welcome to SPI students and outstanding peaceworkers like eventual Nobel Peace Prize winner Lemayah Gbowee.

Edgar Stoesz gave some advice looking at the example of persons like Orie Miller and Mother Teresa, regarding what one person can do to change the world. If we sometimes wonder about the futility of one person ever doing anything to really make a difference, Edgar encouraged his audience, “Throw back your shoulders and say, ‘I am that person, God helping me.’”



Joe Lapp, former president of EMU, chats with Jerilyn Schrock, marketing manager for Herald Press, at the Anabaptist Leadership Conference book table.


Some of the books on sale at the Anabaptist Leadership Conference included: Overplayed, Changing Lenses, The Spacious Heart, My Calling to Fulfill, Setting the Agenda, Rewilding the Way, Trouble I’ve Seen, the Christians Meeting Muslims series, The Power of All, Fully Engaged, Widening the Circle, Living Thoughtfully Dying Well, Teaching that Transforms, and more.

You can purchase My Calling to Fulfill here.


Those interested in sponsoring additional flags for the Orie Miller Hall of Nations at EMU can check information here or contact Ben Bailey directly.


Melodie Davis, a managing editor at Herald Press, is 2/3 of the way through reading My Calling to Fulfill and plans to give a more thorough review of the book at her blog www.findingharmonyblog.com.