Paul R. Schlitz Jr.’s letter invites a bit of sharing about the curation of Voices Together. I agree that giving hymnal editors purview to unilaterally slot in content — including their own work — would have been highly problematic. In contrast, each of the 1,069 entries in Voices Together underwent rigorous and prayerful committee discernment. Although VT text editor Adam Tice is the most widely published Anabaptist hymn writer of his generation, the committee approached his work with the same care as all content screened for VT: Everything that had not been published in previous Mennonite hymnals was reviewed anonymously. The identities of contributors were only revealed to committee members near the end of the compilation process. Because more than three dozen of Tice’s hymn texts had advanced (anonymously) to late stages of committee approval, the committee created a process for paring them back substantially. Readers interested in deeper dives into the VT committee process will enjoy perusing the resources at voicestogetherhymnal.org/resources.
I also agree that whether to sing in unison or parts requires congregational discernment. VT’s 415 four-part hymns (55% of the songs) will seem excessive for some and too few for others. Across many musical styles, I pray that worshipers using VT will find challenge and comfort, formation and companionship, action and stillness, and the abiding love of God.
Bradley Kauffman, Goshen, Ind.
Kauffman was project director and general editor of Voices Together.