Worship is the heart of the church and it is in worship when we come together to honor God. On any given Sunday in a Mennonite church you will find worship happening in myriad ways—with music often forming a central part of what we do in worship.
In spring 2008, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church USA, and MennoMedia’s predecessor—Mennonite Publishing Network—started exploring the need for a new hymnal by surveying worship and music leaders in Mennonite congregations. That work continued in summer 2011, when The Heart of Mennonite Worship was released as a jointly produced study guide inviting Mennonite congregations to think more deeply about worship and music. Out of that study, congregations were asked to submit the songs sung each week via an online survey.
In late 2014, the Joint Executive Committee of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA commissioned MennoMedia to develop this new worship and song collection with the understanding that it should do so in close partnership with both denominations.
MennoMedia started fund-raising for this project in 2015, and raised more than $796,000. As a small church agency, MennoMedia did not have the cash reserves to undertake such a large project. We are most grateful for the many generous donations that have been contributed to make Voices Together a reality.
Bradley Kauffman was hired as project director in July 2016 and by fall 2016 a 12-member volunteer committee had been appointed. The committee has worked prayerfully on this task, meeting in person three times per year. Their final meeting was in October 2019, although production work continued into the next year.
Hymnals are generational. They reflect the rhythms of the Holy Spirit, moving among God’s people in a particular era. As worship rhythms develop new currents, the language of a recent generation needs to expand too.
Voices Together succeeds Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992) and its two supplements, Sing the Journey (2005) and Sing the Story (2007).
The time between the publication of The Mennonite Hymnal (1969) and Hymnal: A Worship Book was 23 years. The publication of Voices Together in fall 2020 marked 28 years since the publication of Hymnal: A Worship Book.