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New Worship Council Holds First Meeting


Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Publishing Network joint
October 30, 2009
- John Longhurst, from a report by Mark Diller Harder

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa— What songs should be included in a new hymnal for the Mennonite Church? What new resources could be provided for worship leaders? How will the Internet and other technological changes affect the way people get and use music in the future?

Those were some of the questions raised at the inaugural meeting of the Mennonite Bi-National Worship Council, which met Oct 4-6 at the St Jacobs, Ont. Mennonite Church.

The meeting began with an overview of the worship and music resources available across North America—things like Leader magazine, worship materials used at national conventions and assemblies, courses taught at Mennonite seminaries and schools, materials provided by resource centres, regional worship events and the role of the current hymnal and supplements.

Council members then dreamed about new resources that could be offered to song and worship leaders. The list included suggestions such as holding more song and worship leading events in area churches; conversations with Anabaptist musicians and composers who work primarily in the contemporary praise and worship genre; and ways to include input about worship from racial and ethnic churches.

The Council also discussed how electronic and technological changes will impact the transmission of worship and music resources, and talked about ways to unleash the creativity of Mennonite composers, poets, visual artists and musicians.

The new Worship Council is sponsored by Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), and was created following a denominational Hymnal Consultation organized by MPN in April, 2008.

The members of the Council are Irma Fast Dueck, Manitoba; Mark Diller Harder, Ontario; Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz, Texas; Sara Wenger Shenk, Virginia; and Randall Spaulding, Florida. Also on the Council are Marlene Kropf, Mennonite Church USA; David Bergen, Mennonite Church Canada; and Eleanor Snyder, MPN.

The next meeting of the Worship Council will be in October, 2010.