What songs connect you to God and your community, and empower you to serve? What songs do you turn to in joyful or difficult times? What are your heart songs?
These are questions the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is asking, inviting Mennonites to fill out a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MWSC_Heart_Song as it embarks on a listening and study phase toward developing a new hymnal collection, to be released in 2020.
“We want to hear from people across the church about the music and worship practices that sustain them,” said Project Director Bradley Kauffman. “We are developing intentional ways of listening, and are asking what existing content has the durability to enhance worship in coming decades.”
The new worship and song collection is being designed to succeed Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992), and its supplements Sing the Journey (2005), and Sing the Story (2007). This new collection will take into account the breadth of the Mennonite Church, the diverse ways Mennonites sing and worship, and will be available in bound and digital formats, along with an accompaniment volume. The collection is to be owned by, and available throughout the denominations. The survey is open to everyone who has specific ideas for a new collection. Those filling out the survey can recommend songs from existing Mennonite collections and beyond for inclusion in the new collection. The survey will remain open throughout 2017.
Another important element is a call for new and original content. Authors, songwriters, composers, and artists can submit their original work online at http://mennoniteworshipandsongcollection.org. This online submissions portal will be active throughout 2017.
The committee hopes the portal will draw a diversity of material that creatively serves a broad spectrum of worshipers. Artists are invited to submit visual elements, too, as the committee considers ways various media enhance worship. The new worship and song collection will be published by Herald Press, the book imprint of MennoMedia as the denominational publisher for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.
“We anticipate receiving thousands of submissions—songs, hymn texts, tunes, worship resources, orders of worship, ritual actions, and visual images—for our committee to review,” Kauffman added. “We hope to see a lot of interest among Anabaptist and Mennonite contributors as well as ecumenical sources.”
For more information about the Mennonite Worship and Song Collection project or to schedule an interview with Bradley Kauffman, project director, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.