Worship and Song Collection Project Fund-raising Update by Steve Carpenter

MennoMedia, on behalf of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, is working to create a new Mennonite hymnal by 2020. I have been tasked with raising more than $600,000 to pay for the work of a 13-person hymnal committee, a full-time project director, a half-time administrative assistant and other support staff and services. We’re off to a good start.

Bradley Kauffman began work as the Project Director in July 2016 and later that summer 13 others were appointed to serve with him on the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee.

This committee includes persons from both Canada and the US.

The committee has met several times, most recently at Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Michigan, in early September. (Read a recent report on their work here.) The committee has enjoyed frequent contact and mentorship from Mary Oyer, Rebecca Slough, Kenneth Nafziger, Marilyn Houser Hamm, Marlene Kropf and other veterans of previous hymnal projects beyond the Mennonite Church.

As I meet with individuals, inviting them to support this endeavor financially, I am sometimes asked “Why do we need a new hymnal?” In short, refreshing a worship and song collection once a generation is one of the cycles of a forward-looking church. Hymnals are of a generational moment. They mark a particular threshold showing where the church has been and where the spirit of God may be leading. They hold comfort and nostalgia while leaning earnestly to challenge and prophetic action. As the urgencies of church life and identity shift from generation to generation, worship rhythms respond to this Spirit-movement.

The Mennonite Hymnal (red) was published in 1969.

 

 

 

 

The blue Hymnal: A Worship Book (HWB) was released in 1992.

That is a span of 23 years between the red and blue hymnals, both of which were developed before the digital age. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hymnal: A Worship Book and it will be another three years until a new hymnal is available. A new generation of spirit-led, prophetic church music has been written in the last quarter century. The way the church uses music is also changing. Available electronic formats will help the new collection meet the needs of twenty-first century worshipers. Many of our faith communities are expressing eager anticipation of this forthcoming resource.

The new hymnal will retain durable material from HWB and the two supplements, Sing the Journey (2005) and Sing the Story (2007), while introducing new music and worship resources geared for the 21st century church.

Those who give a gift of at least $500 toward this project, between now and 2019, will have 40 characters (including spaces) in the back of the hymnal to honor a loved one, include a snippet from a hymn or a favorite verse of Scripture. Persons may also include their own names or give anonymously. To date we have raised nearly $370,000 in gifts and faith promises or 61% of the $606,000 goal. Larger gifts entitle the giver to 80 characters. To learn more about giving to support this important project, visit HymnalProject606.com or email me at SteveC@mennomedia.org.

The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, going by the name Resonate Team, has invited congregations to hold a Great Day of Singing on Sunday October 22. Click here to view downloadable music and worship resources available for your congregation to plan worship for that day.

Thank you for your interest in this project. The Mennonite church has a rich tradition of robust congregational singing. A gift to Project 606 will help offer this legacy to the next generation.

Blessings in your work, worship and witness,

Steve Carpenter
Director of Development and Church Relations

Steve Carpenter
Director of Development and Church Relations.

Resonate receives Calvin Grant: Committee undertakes intentional study of worship

News Release: May 16, 2017

Resonate receives Calvin Grant
Committee undertakes intentional study of worship

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA— The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee has received an $18,000 grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship as part of Calvin’s Vital Worship Grants Program.

This grant will enable the committee—working under the mantle Resonate—to work with congregations in Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada to celebrate and teach the richness of culturally diverse singing practices that deepen community life and connection with God.

“Since we don’t all identify as hymn singers, this study will help bring a breadth of worship practices and needs more clearly into focus. A single hymnal cannot serve every congregation, so we hope to build something representative of a range of practices that are giving life to Mennonite worship,” said Bradley Kauffman, project director.

The grant will allow three committee members to travel to six musically and racially diverse Mennonite congregations across the United States and Canada. In each place committee members will join the congregation in singing, worship, and listening for what makes songs and liturgical practices meaningful. In addition to gathering possible resources for a new song collection to be released in 2020, this grant will make possible a video featuring stories and songs shared by the congregations.

“I’m excited to learn more of the breadth and depth of what ‘Mennonite music’ is. I’m hopeful that sharing stories about meaningful songs will lead to new perspectives and experiences of the divine,” said Katie Graber, who chairs the intercultural worship subcommittee and will spearhead the grant project.

Resonate was one of 33 projects chosen to receive a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. These projects have a variety of emphases—visual arts, storytelling, music, preaching, contemplation and more—but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.

Said Kathy Smith, director of the Vital Worship Grants Program: “These collaborative projects bring people together to study, plan and create, foster new learning and nourish intergenerational community in worship.”

This year’s Vital Worship Grant recipients are from around North America and include 20 congregations, one high school, four colleges and universities, three seminaries, and five other organizations—including MennoMedia on behalf of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee. Each grant will fund a year-long project (beginning in June) that promotes vital worship and faith formation, and this year’s awards range from $6,000 to $18,000 per project.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, see calvin.edu/worship. For more information about Resonate or to schedule an interview, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Worship and Song Committee begins selection process

Worship and Song Committee met in Elkhart, Indiana in early February. Two previous directors of hymnal projects are seated in center front, Mary Oyer and Rebecca Slough.

News Release: February 9, 2017

Worship and Song Committee begins selection process

Subcommittees tasked with evaluating and tagging hymnal content

ELKHART, INDIANA— Practically speaking, how does a group of 13 people review thousands of pieces of music and worship resources in the next three years? This was the focus of conversation February 2–5, 2017, when the 13-member Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met in Elkhart, Indiana, at the offices of Mennonite Church USA.

To accomplish the giant task before them, the committee has divided into subcommittees organized into two tiers: content and delivery; and contemporary and intercultural worship. The subcommittees began evaluating and tagging content that fits the vision of the project.

“This meeting helped address questions about where we see the collection moving,” said Bradley Kauffman, project director and general editor. “A clear structure helps us choose the content for this new hymnal.”

The committee includes Kauffman and Karen Gonzol, editorial assistant, as staff, plus 12 volunteers: Adam Tice, text editor; Benjamin Bergey, music editor; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor. The remainder of the committee includes Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Paul Dueck, Mike Erb, Katie Graber, Emily Grimes, Tom Harder, SaeJin Lee, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, and Cynthia Neufeld Smith.

“This is a highly committed group of volunteers,” said Amy Gingerich, editorial director at MennoMedia who serves ex-officio on the committee. “The subcommittees really jelled around their shared purpose.”

Bradley Kauffman, project director, flanked by Rebecca Slough, left and Mary Oyer, right, key personnel for 1992 and 1969 hymnal collections, respectively.

Meeting highlights were an afternoon tea with Rebecca Slough and Mary Oyer, key figures in previous collections, including Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992) and Mennonite Hymnal (1969), and a session with David Eicher, who served as general editor for Presbyterian Publishing on its recent hymnal, Glory to God (2013). The group has plans to engage other leaders who have shaped Mennonite hymnody in future meetings.

The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is working toward a 2020 release of a new hymnal to be published by MennoMedia in cooperation with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. To submit content for consideration, visit http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org/.

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