This article was originally published by The Mennonite World Review

Project 606: Team assembles to replace 1992 hymnal by 2020

HARRISONBURG, Va. — “Project 606,” MennoMedia’s song collection project for the next hymnal serving Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, is beginning this year.

MennoMedia began accepting applications for committee and staff positions Jan. 1.

This new song collection will take into account the breadth of the church, the diverse ways Mennonites sing and worship, and new digital technologies.

Scheduled for release in 2020, it will replace the 1992 Hymnal: A Worship Book and will likely include familiar songs from previous hymnals as well as new songs and worship resources.

The new song collection will be more than a printed hymnal and will also include an electronic version.

“The name ‘606’ is a natural for this project. That’s about how many hymns we want to have, and that’s about how much we need to raise (in thousands) to fund it,” said Russ Eanes, executive director at MennoMedia. “Plus, there is a lot of cultural identity around that number itself for many Mennonites. I’m amazed at the enthusiasm and energy that there is for this project, and I’ll be excited to see it come to fruition.”

“606” is the number in the 1969 Mennonite Hymnal of “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” sometimes known as the “Mennonite anthem.”

Song committee applications are available for the positions of project director, editorial assistant, music editor, text editor, worship editor and committee member.

The project director position is a full-time, salaried job for the duration of the project. The project director will manage all aspects of the project and oversee a part-time project assistant, committees, freelance editors and designers. The part-time editorial assistant position is hourly, and this person will work closely with the project director.

In addition, a 10- to 12-member hymnal committee will be appointed to work closely with project staff. This volunteer committee will solicit and review music and texts, paying close attention to singability, theology and clarity. Three people from this committee will serve in editorial roles — as the music editor, text editor and worship editor — and will receive honoraria for their work.

Those applying to be on the committee must commit to at least three years of participation and to attending at least three in-person meetings each year and additional video conferences. All expenses incurred for travel or other project-related work will be borne by the publisher.

Anyone who is a member of an MC Canada or MC USA congregation can apply to be on the hymnal committee. In addition to a short application, those applying to be on the hymnal committee must provide three references, including one pastoral reference.

“As the Mennonite Church in North America continues to grow in rich cultural diversity, congregational singing gives communal expression to the hope and the heart of faith that sustains and is able to transform us as a global people of God,” said Karen Martens Zimmerly, executive minister of formation and pastoral leadership for MC Canada.

The committee’s first meeting is projected to be in late summer or fall.

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