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. These pieces will be placed throughout Voices Together, inviting worshippers to encounter God creatively in ways that engage all the senses.
“Mennonite communities are diverse in terms of language and age, as well as ways of learning and expression,” says MennoMedia publisher Amy Gingerich. “Including a series of visual worship resources in the bound and projection editions of the new worship and song collection celebrates that diversity.”
With guidance from a visual art committee composed of Randy Horst, Merrill Miller, Tom Yoder Neufeld, SaeJin Lee, Sarah Kathleen Johnson and Bradley Kauffman, the hymnal committee chose visual art to represent the following themes: gathering; praising; praying; creation; Advent and the birth of Jesus; the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus; the death and resurrection of Jesus; Holy Spirit, Pentecost and church; baptism; communion; service and witness for peace; and sending.
Each of the 12 works selected for the collection is by a different artist and in a distinct style.
“The theme of death and resurrection is challenging in the sense that both words tend to conjure binary associations of light/good versus dark/bad,” says Anne H. Berry, creator of “Alive.” “It was important for me, consequently, to integrate the imagery of life and death together in the composition, uniting light and dark in a complementary way. The visuals provide a certain level of agency for people like me—people of colour—who want to see ourselves acknowledged and affirmed through positive representation.”
“Our hope is that including visual art in Voices Together will encourage congregations to invite visual artists to share their gifts in worship alongside other music and worship leaders,” says Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor for the new hymnal.
“We aspire to honour a diversity of human experiences, including race and ethnicity, class and economic status, age, and ability,” says project director Bradley Kaufman. “We aim to celebrate the theological diversity of the Mennonite church and to provide multiple ways of envisioning and encountering God, one another and creation.”
To learn more, visit VoicesTogetherHymnal.org.
For more on Voices Together, see:
Is there such a thing as a Mennonite song?
Eastern Canada youth sing from hymnal-in-progress
Singing a new song
Voices Together committee seeks input
Voices Together announced as title for new hymnal