Nearly 100 churches report on their singing

MennoMedia urges participation in song survey

November 30, 2011 | Web First
Steve Shenk | MennoMedia
Harrisonburg, Va. and Waterloo, Ont.
The present hymnal will be 20 years old in 2012

Nearly 100 congregations in Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada are reporting on the songs they sing. They are helping to determine what the next collection of music for the church will look like.

But the planners of the next hymnal or song collection are looking for more churches to participate in the current song survey. 

There are three easy ways to complete the survey found at (1) fill out the online survey each week; (2) download a chart to fill out and send in at the end of the survey period; or (3) send worship bulletins to MennoMedia via email or regular mail.

Blooming Glen (Pa.) Mennonite Church reported that they mostly sing from Hymnal: A Worship Book and one of its supplements, Sing the Journey. The two books offer “much diversity and opportunity for creative hymn singing, with instrumentation or a cappella,” said Michael Bishop, pastor of music and worship. “The printed page is no barrier to improvisation, artful interpretation, or generational identity.”

At Dayspring Christian Fellowship, a Mennonite Church USA congregation near Massillon, Ohio, song lyrics are projected on the front of the sanctuary, using EasyWorship software. “Overall, we have a contemporary music style and use a full band,” said Pam Bartholomew, worship team leader. She hopes that a future song collection will include EasyWorship or PowerPoint files with not only lyrics but the music as well.

Ingried Regier, the secretary at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, Ont., says she hopes her congregation is “contributing in meaningful ways to a future hymnal or song collection” by participating in the survey.

Pastor Bryce Miller of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship in Tucson, Ariz., said he is participating in the survey by simply adding MennoMedia to their weekly bulletin email list. His church emphasizes “contemporary hymnody,” he said.  

The song survey is being conducted by the Bi-National Worship Council with the support of MennoMedia.

The council developed a four-session study guide, The Heart of Mennonite Worship: Five Vital Rhythms. It can be ordered—for free—by calling 1-800-245-7894 in the U.S. and 1-800-631-6535 in Canada. It can also be downloaded at no cost

The current hymnal used by Mennonites and Church of the Brethren—Hymnal: A Worship Book—will be 20 years old in 2012. Two Mennonite supplements were added over the years: Sing the Journey and Sing the Story. The Church of the Brethren also added a supplement for its congregations, Hymnal Supplement.

Congregations that participate in the song survey will receive a free copy of the book Proclamation by Design: The Visual Arts in Worship.

MennoMedia, formed from a merger in July 2011, is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

--Nov. 30, 2011

The present hymnal will be 20 years old in 2012

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