Photo: From left: Brenda Hess, Osée Tshiwape, Lefuarn Harvey, John Lapp, Ann Jacobs, and Sandy Miller (not pictured) lead worship as part of Mennonite Mission Network’s Work in Progress Ensemble at the Community Mennonite Church of Markham (Ill.). Photo by Sara Alvarez.
The Work in Progress choir is a ministry of Mennonite Mission Network and is directed by Ann Jacobs, Lefuarn Harvey, and Sandy Miller. The Work in Progress team serves as part of the Mission Network Church Relations team.
Work in Progress visits congregations across the country to lead them in worship and inform them of the full scope of Mission Network’s offerings. They share stories of God’s work around the world and invite people to join and serve. Along with leading worship services, ensemble members lead workshops. Most recently, they have led worship for congregations and groups in Kansas and New York.
Ann, Lefuarn and Sandy have selected 10 of the group’s most meaningful worship songs. You can listen to their playlist and watch a video interview with them below.
1. What if God, Christopher Brinson
2. Blessed be the Rock/I Will Call Upon the Lord (various arrangements)
3. A Lil’ Louder (Clap Your Hands), The Rance Allen Group
4. Total Praise, Richard Smallwood
5. Everyday is a good day, Vickie Winans
6. Every praise is to our God, Hezekiah Walker
7. Hamba Nathi/Come Walk With Us: This song is described as a “gathering” song. Listed in the Sing the Journey songbook, it’s a South African traditional arrangement, translated by Gerhard Cartford and arranged by Anders Nyberg. Many congregations love for WIP to sing this song, commenting that it is rarely sung but loved. This song invites God into the presence of our journey and of our lives as we seek to live, worship and gather as the body of Christ.
8. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: I like this song because it provokes us to think about not giving up the fight for justice. This song was made famous during the Civil Rights era, and its lyrics continue to be relevant today. I dedicate this video to all the men and women who never let anybody turn them around, who marched and fought for their human rights, whether black, white, Latino, indigenous, immigrants, feminists or LGBT. I thank you for everything you did to progress justice along.
9. God is Great, Ricky Dillard and New G: An upbeat song proclaiming God’s greatness and showing that God is deserving all praises. This song describes God’s love as unconditional; God’s power as unbeatable. I like this song because it’s upbeat and celebrates God’s greatness and faithfulness to His believers.
10. Ella’s Song/Freedom, Sweet Honey in the Rock: We use an a capella four part variety harmony arrangement with percussion and rhythm of hands and feet. This is a song that invites those who believe in social justice and freedom to encourage others to keep the faith.
Listen to the playlist: