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.
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.
Benjamin Bergy, Katie Graber, Anneli Loepp Thiessen and Cynthia Neufeld Smith test out different versions of a piano accompaniment for a song.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Growing up, Cedar Klassen loved singing hymns.
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.
What will the Mennonite church in North America look like in the next 30 years? No one has a crystal ball, but one group of forward-thinking people is helping us imagine how we might be doing congregational worship in the next generation.
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)
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.
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.
The phrase “singing off the wall,” referring to singing from projected words rather than a hymn book, first appeared in Canadian Mennonite in 2010. This image shows that the practice went back much further. Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., recently donated a collection of glass “lantern slides” probably in use circa 1924-45.