Photo: Alive, pen and ink, Anne H. Berry, 2018; created for the theme death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee has chosen visual art for the Voices Together hymnal. The 12 visual art pieces selected will appear in the forthcoming hymnal—including the pew, worship leader, digital app and projection editions.
These 12 pieces of visual art will be placed throughout the Voices Together hymnal, inviting worshipers to encounter God creatively in ways that engage all the senses.
“Mennonite communities are diverse in terms of language and age, as well as ways of learning and expression,” says Amy Gingerich, publisher at MennoMedia. “Including a series of visual worship resources in the bound and projection editions of the new worship and song collection celebrates that diversity.” With guidance from a visual art committee composed of Randy Horst, Merrill Miller, Tom Yoder Neufeld, SaeJin Lee, Sarah Kathleen Johnson and Bradley Kauffman, the hymnal committee chose visual art to represent the following themes:
- Advent and birth of Jesus
- Life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus
- Death and resurrection of Jesus
- Holy Spirit, Pentecost, church
- Service and witness for peace
Each of the 12 works selected for the collection is by a different artist and in a distinct style. Brenton Good’s Nine Patch #8 was chosen for the theme of praying, and Anne H. Berry’s Alive was created for the theme of death and resurrection of Jesus (both pictured here).
“Our hope is that including visual art in Voices Together will encourage congregations to invite visual artists to share their gifts in worship alongside other music and worship leaders,” says Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor for Voices Together.
“We aspire to honor a diversity of human experiences, including race and ethnicity, class and economic status, age and ability,” says Bradley Kaufman, project director. “We aim to celebrate the theological diversity of the Mennonite church and to provide multiple ways of envisioning and encountering God, one another and creation.”
“The theme of death and resurrection is challenging in the sense that both words tend to conjure binary associations of ‘light/good’ versus ‘dark/bad,’” says Berry, creator of Alive. “It was important for me, consequently, to integrate the imagery of life and death together in the composition, uniting light and dark in a complementary way. The visuals provide a certain level of agency for people like me—people of color—who want to see ourselves acknowledged and affirmed through positive representation.”