Mennonite congregations took the stage at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., to lead and participate in public hymn sings and to talk about music from a Mennonite perspective June 29, July 1, 3, 4 and 6.
Congregations loaned out scores of “blue hymnals” for use by participants and audience members. On July 3, a large hymn sing under the festival’s main performance tent culminated in a huge circle of participants and festivalgoers singing “Praise God from Whom” (“606” in a previous hymnal).
A thunderstorm shut down the performance tents on the final day of Mennonite programming. Instead of canceling the hymn sing, people gathered on the National Mall to sing and talk about their favorite hymns, raising voices in songs of faith and resistance in the vicinity of the Washington Monument and the Capitol.
Games of Dutch Blitz under a shade tree were popular among adults and children each day of the festival.
Participating congregations were Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in North Carolina; Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg, Man.; Community House Church, Hampden Mennonite Church, Hyattsville Mennonite Church and North Baltimore Mennonite Church, all in Maryland; and Living Water Mennonite Fellowship and Rawlinsville Mennonite District in Pennsylvania.