The people of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan love being together. In particular, they enjoy singing and worshiping with one another. This apparent enjoyment sparked the idea of holding regional worship services.
The idea came to fruition June 14-16, when MC Saskatchewan staff, together with Anneli Loepp Thiessen and Sarah Johnson of the Voices Together hymnal committee and veteran church musician Marilyn Houser Hamm, led four such services in four communities.
The first service took place at Rosthern Mennonite Church, where worshippers from at least six congregations sang heartily, prayed and shared the Lord’s Supper together.
Houser Hamm led the group in singing familiar hymns from current songbooks, while Loepp Thiessen taught several new pieces that are expected to be in the upcoming hymnal. Johnson and area church minister Kirsten Hamm-Epp led responsive readings and prayers, while MC Saskatchewan executive minister Ryan Siemens presented the message and led communion.
A second service took place Saturday evening at Mount Royal Mennonite in Saskatoon. This followed an afternoon workshop led by Loepp Thiessen, Johnson and Houser Hamm. On Sunday two services took place: in the morning at Herschel Ebenfeld Mennonite, near Herschel, Sask., and in the evening at Zion Mennonite in Swift Current, Sask.
All four services explored the theme “Deepening Our Walk with Each Other through Song and Worship.” This was an extension of the regional church’s chosen theme for 2019, “Deepening Our Walk with Each Other.”
In 2017, following a series of weekend workshops with Betty Pries of Credence & Co., MC Saskatchewan developed a three-year plan of revitalization. During 2018, Year One of that plan, the regional church focused on the theme, “Deepening Our Walk with Christ.” In 2020, which will be Year Three, they will consider the theme, “Deepening Our Walk with Our Neighbours.”
Sarah Johnson, of the Voices Together hymnal committee, displays the blank pages of the new hymnal mock-up, reminding participants at a regional worship service, held at Rosthern Mennonite Church, that the contents of the new hymnal haven’t yet been decided.
Anneli Loepp Thiessen, of the Voices Together hymnal committee, leads congregational singing at Rosthern Mennonite Church during the first of four regional worship services presented by MC Saskatchewan and Voices Together.