hymnal

Together, in song

(Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

The last time my church sang together was March 8, the second Sunday in Lent. Since then, my singing has consisted of one backyard, physically distant, “Happy Birthday” and my lone voice following the congregation’s pre-recorded music on the screen.  

Voices Together announces No. 1 hymn

As Voices Together nears publication, the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee editorial team has assigned the roughly 750 songs across the table of contents and selected the song that will appear first in the collection. (MennoMedia photo)

As Voices Together nears publication, the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee editorial team has assigned the roughly 750 songs across the table of contents and selected the song that will appear first in the collection.

Music leaders sing hymnal preview

Musicians, in foreground from left, Merrill Miller, Alissa Bender, Perry Blosser, Rosene Rohrer and Andrea Weber Steckly accompany a song during the Worship and Music Leaders Retreat on Jan. 10-12 at Laurelville retreat center in Mount Pleasant, Pa. (Photo by Kreg Ulery)

In the 1980s, Ken Nafziger drew inspiration from publisher and camp association president Levi Miller, and began leading a music retreat at Laurelville.

Voices Together committee holds final meeting

A stack of 780 songs greeted members of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee when they arrived for their final meeting. (Photos courtesy of MennoMedia)

Committee members pictured from left to right, front row: Tom Harder, Shana Peachey Boshart, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Katie Graber, Amy Gingerich and Benjamin Bergey; and back row: Adam Tice, Sarah Johnson, Doug Klassen, Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Allan Rudy-Froese, Mike Erb, Bradley Kauffman, Paul Dueck and Darryl Neustaedter Barg.

Committee members Tom Harder and Mike Erb provide accompaniment for the singing.

Benjamin Bergy, Katie Graber, Anneli Loepp Thiessen and Cynthia Neufeld Smith test out different versions of a piano accompaniment for a song.

Sarah Johnson and Doug Klassen discuss the visual art that will be part of Voices Together.

A stack of paper containing 780 songs and a binder of 320 worship resources greeted each member of the Voices Together committee when they arrived for their 10th and final committee meeting in early October.

Voices Together hymnal discounts extended

HARRISONBURG, Va.—Due to a high response rate, MennoMedia is extending the Voices Together case quantity discount until Dec. 1, 2019. The quantity discount was to be for the first 10,000 copies of the pew edition sold. But presales surpassed 10,000 copies by the first week in October. The case quantity discount for Voices Together—5 percent off orders of 5 to 9 cases and 7 percent off orders of 10 or more cases—will end Dec. 1, 2019. However, the 10 percent prepay discount will remain in effect until May 1, 2020.

A farewell to the ‘blue hymnal’

Eighty people from different Mennonite churches, denominations and even provinces participated in Sargent Avenue Mennonite’s hymnal sing-a-thon weekend at the end of September. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Singers sang all 658 hymns from Hymnal: A Worship Book and raised $800 to help Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church purchase copies of the new Voices Together hymnal. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Over the span of a single weekend, Sean Goerzen sang or played every single hymn in the blue-backed Hymnal: A Worship Book. All 658 of them. “I feel like I know the hymnal in a very intimate way now,” he says with a laugh.

Voices Together taking pre-orders, website redesign goes live

HARRISONBURG, Va.—MennoMedia is now taking pre-orders for Voices Together, the new hymnal releasing in fall 2020. Pre-order sales of the new worship and song collection coincide with the launch of the newly designed VoicesTogetherHymnal.org website. The updated site includes information on the hymnal’s table of contents, FAQs, bundles and ordering information, samples of projection edition files, and much more.

Bringing diverse voices together

Anneli Loepp Thiessen is pictured playing piano for worship at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Anneli Loepp Thiessen)

The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met in Cincinnati in July, 2018. Pictured from left to right, front row: Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Jackson, Miss.; Adam Tice, Goshen, Ind.; Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Ottawa; and Benjamin Bergey, Harrisonburg, Va.; and back row: SaeJin Lee, Elkhart, Ind.; Tom Harder, Hillsboro, Kan.; Allan Rudy-Froese, Kitchener, Ont.; Mike Erb, New Hamburg, Ont.; Bradley Kauffman, Cincinnati, Ohio; Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Winnipeg; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Toronto; and Katie Graber, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Mennonites are stereotyped as people who love singing and forming committees.

Anneli Loepp Thiessen fulfills both of these stereotypes. The 23-year-old is one of 12 people from Canada and the United States who make up the Voices Together committee charged with making a new Mennonite hymnal planned for release in 2020.

Voices Together visual art chosen

‘Alive,’ a pen and ink drawing by Anne H. Berry, chosen for the theme of ‘the death and resurrection of Jesus.’ (Courtesy of MennoMedia)

‘Nine patch No. 8,’ a monotype by Brenton Good, chosen for the theme of ‘praying.’ (Courtesy of MennoMedia)

Visual art for the Voices Together hymnal has been chosen by the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee. The 12 visual art pieces selected will appear in the forthcoming hymnal—including the pew, worship leader, digital app and projection editions.

Is there such a thing as a Mennonite song?

Darryl Neustaedter Barg leads worship in Laurelville, Pa. last month. (Photo by Kreg Ulery)

How many of the songs in our Hymnal: A Worship Book (HWB), and the two supplements Sing the Journey and Sing the Story do you think are Mennonite? What does that even mean? If it means songs that are embraced by Mennonites in worship, well, the answer might be all of them. If it means songs with what some might call Mennonite theological distinctives, that would be quite a few of them. If it means songs written by self-identifying Mennonites, you might be surprised. The number of tunes, texts and full songs in HWB is less than 60.

Voices Together committee seeks input

The Central Practices Committee, a part of the Voices Together hymnal project, includes, from left to right: Irma Fast Dueck, Isaac Villegas, Heidi Miller, Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Adam Tice and Allan Rudy-Froese. (MennoMedia photo)

Six people who have been meeting virtually for the last two years via videoconference gathered together in person for the first and only time this summer to speak through and listen to the worship resources that will be part of Voices Together, a new hymnal to be published by MennoMedia in 2020 for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church U.S.A.

Singing into the future

Paul Dueck and Darryl Neustaedter Barg lead singing at the new worship and song collection fundraiser held at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg earlier this year. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Marilyn Houser Hamm leads the congregation at Winnipeg’s Douglas Mennonite Church in singing ‘What is This Place.’ (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

More than 80 people gathered at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg on March 11 to sing together and raise funds for the new Mennonite worship and song collection. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Music is an integral part of Mennonite worship. Whether it’s in church, at camp, at school or in everyday activities, songs have been faithful companions to Mennonites for centuries.

Music selection for new hymnal shaped by new table of contents

Six members of the Resonate team sample past selections from Sing the Story as they choose songs for the new Mennonite collection to be published in 2020. The team met in February at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Pictured from left to right: Tom Harder, SaeJin Lee, Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Allan Rudy-Froese and project director Bradley Kauffman. (Resonate photo)

The work of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is slow and joyful and involves a lot of singing.

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