Mennonites sing to express their faith. That’s what we said in our first hymnal planning session last week in the Twin Cities.
Representatives of Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada and MennoMedia spent a day in some intensive, but very good meetings, planning a new hymnal for our churches. This was a follow-up on some decisions reached last fall, where the two denominations asked MennoMedia to take the lead in planning and producing a new song collection.
While this first meeting had just four of us—Amy Gingerich and myself from MennoMedia and Dave Bergen and Terry Shue from Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, we agreed that our next meeting will include one more each from our denominations, in particular persons with expertise in music and worship. This group will not actually produce a song collection or hymnal; rather we are just a “steering committee” who will hire and select the team that will produce the final product. Besides one full time project director and some other, part-time staff, there will be a committee of 10-12 persons from across the church, hopefully representing the broad diversity of our denominations and especially gifted in music, poetry and worship.
One important bit of work for us was the statement of some values that we hope this process and final product will express:
- Collaboration and cooperation.
- Openness and transparency.
- Leanness and responsiveness—meeting perhaps more intensively, over a shorter time period.
- Lots of communication, since people want to know what’s happening. Good marketing will be included in this.
- An excellent product that will help form faith for a new generation.
Lots of questions remain unanswered:
- Who will be on the committee?
- How many new songs versus old ones?
- What kinds of supplementary products will be included (such as audio and visuals)?
- Will “Praise God From Whom” be #606 again?
We look forward to the next five years as we see this product take shape and hope and pray for a resource that helps preserve and treasure a faith tradition in music.
Executive Director, MennoMedia
Read the complete news release on the project sent out this week.
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