A new song collection
for the Mennonite Church

New collection to feature visual worship resources

Download a pdf of the call for submissions.

We worship a creative and creating God. We are called to worship God with our spirits, minds, hearts, and bodies, including all of our senses. In recent decades, North American Mennonite churches have grown in our understanding of the visual aspects of worship. We have become more connected with Christians in other times and places who worship in ways that engage sight as well as sound. We have become more aware of how diverse our communities are in terms of language and age, as well as ways of learning and expressing ourselves. With this in mind, the Resonate team calls for submissions of visual art for inclusion in the print and electronic editions of the new worship and song collection.

We hope visual art will serve as an expression of and invitation to acts of worship, and as a visual telling of God’s story. We hope visual art will reflect the diversity of the Mennonite church in North America and around the world, and the breadth of Scripture and Christian tradition. We hope visual art in the collection will engage worshipers as a complement to reading and singing, be projected to shape the flow of worship, serve as a resource for contemplation, and encourage the creativity of local artists.

A total of 12 works of art will be selected based on the following themes (contributors may submit one or more items per theme):

  1. Gathering
  2. Praising
  3. Praying
  4. Creation
  5. Advent and Birth of Jesus
  6. Life and Teachings of Jesus
  7. Death and Resurrection of Jesus
  8. Holy Spirit, Pentecost, and Church
  9. Baptism
  10. Communion
  11. Service and Witness
  12. Sending

Submissions are welcome between October 2017 and February 2018. Submissions must follow the technical requirements. Artists are strongly encouraged to attend to the Aspirations for the Use of Visual Imagery and invited to reflect on the Theological Inspirations below. Royalties will be paid at 12.5% pro rata. All submissions should be sent to MerrillM@MennoMedia.org. All questions related to submissions may be directed to Resonate@MennoMedia.org.

A. Technical Requirements

  1. The art submitted must be two dimensional and must be able to reproduce well in black, gray, and white. The more contrast in the art, the better it will reproduce; subtle tones may be lost.
  2. The art will need to reproduce well at 5.5 inches (width) x 8.5 inches (height).
  3. All art should be submitted in digital form at a minimum 600 dpi in grayscale or black-and-white format.
  4. TIF, EPS, AI, PSD, or high-quality JPG formats are acceptable.
  5. File name must include artist name and title (LastName,FirstName,Title).

B. Aspirations for the Use of Visual Imagery

In curating visual art for the new collection, we seek to explore the breadth and depth of our faith. In Scripture, tradition, and experience, we encounter God in many ways. The images we use can clarify and expand our faith, or limit our vision.

In shaping a new collection, we strive to worship in solidarity with a wide variety of people. Our denominations and world contain an amazing array of human diversity. The images we use in worship can welcome, marginalize, divide, and unify; people often experience the same images in different ways.

Striving for balance across the collection as a whole, the following is a non-exhaustive list of concerns and priorities that we aim to honor as we invite and select visual art. We hope to honor a diversity of human experiences including race and ethnicity, class and economic status, gender and sexuality, age, and ability. We aim to promote relationships of respect with the earth, other Christian traditions and non-Christian religions, and the global human community and church. We aspire to celebrate the theological diversity of the Mennonite church and to provide diverse ways of envisioning and encountering God, one another, and creation.

C. Theological Inspirations and Possibilities

Artists may choose to draw on some of the concepts, Scriptures, and visual and material culture outlines in the following expansions of the 12 themes. Artists are also encouraged to explore beyond these descriptions.

Gathering

Gathering with the global church, historical church, local church; invoking the Spirit; sense of family; sharing/offering gifts to each other; welcoming; processions

Isaiah 2:1-5; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:19-23; Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 12:1-2; Revelation 7:9-12; Revelation 22:17

Praising

Singing; dancing; giving thanks; Alleluia/Hallelujah; contemplative praise; gestures or expressions of joy; expansive; raised hands; musical instruments from many expressions of worship from around the world

Psalm 18:1-3; 22:3, 22-31; 34:1-3; 47; 57:7-11; 71; 98:4-9; 103; 105; 119:169-176; 145–150; Isaiah 42:10-13; Ephesians 1:3-14; 3:20-12; Luke 1:46-80; Acts 3:1-10

Praying

Lament; intercession for the needs of the world, church, loved ones, and ourselves; thanksgiving; conversing with God; confession and receiving assurance of pardon; listening and opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit; closed eyes; lit candles; posture of kneeling; spiritual traditions in Judaism and Islam that incorporate prayer calligraphy into designs

Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 4; 44:23-26; 60–63; 69–71; 86; 88; 90, etc.; Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2 4; John 17; Gethsemane; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 3:14-19; Philippians 4:4-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16 19

Creation

God Creator; creation care; new creation; beauty of nature; creativity; confessing harm to the earth; the creative impulse within ourselves; the great mystery beyond ourselves; God as grand architect; new creation in Christ; plants and animals; fertile/desolate soil; topographical maps; outer space; Sistine Chapel ceiling; Islamic geometric mosaics

Genesis 1 and 2, Psalms 8; 19; 104; 139; Isaiah 42:1-9; 45:9-12, 18-19; Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 1; Ephesians 2:11-22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:15-20; Revelation 21:1-5

Advent and Birth of Jesus

Incarnation; birth of Jesus; John the Baptist; Mary; three wise men/magi; Jesus and family as refugees; new beginnings and hopes; waiting/anticipation; Advent wreath; nativity; Giuliani’s Hopi Madonna and Child; Fra Angelico’s Annunciation; He Qi’s The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi

Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2; John 1; 1 John 1; Hebrews 1–2

Life and Teachings of Jesus

Teaching; parables; healing; feeding; miracles; the golden rule; prophet; table turning; admonishing; reign of God; eating and drinking with sinners; discipleship; walking; early Christian art and symbols, a Path (a sense of journeying); Kim Ki-Chang’s Jesus Enters Jerusalem; Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son; The Saint John’s Bible illuminations; Makoto Fujimura’s The Four Holy Gospels project

Matthew 5–7, 13, 18, 25; Luke 10, 15, 16; John 8, 10

Death and Resurrection of Jesus

Death of Jesus; resurrection of Jesus; cross; empty tomb; new life; great sorrow and great triumph; cross; butterfly; changing of seasons; Röttgen Pietá; Giotto’s Lamentation; Weyden’s The Deposition; Georges Rouault’s Crucifixion; Jacques-Richard Chery’s The Tree of Life; Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

Isaiah 53; passion narratives in all four gospels; John 1:29, 36; Romans 5:6-11; Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 2; Revelation 5:6-12; Matthew 28; Luke 24; John 20, 21; 1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 1:20 23

Holy Spirit, Pentecost, and Church

Holy Spirit; fire; wind; many languages; church throughout time and around the world; specific local church; anointing; gifts of the Spirit; fruit of the Spirit; being bound together; MC Canada/USA dove

Ezekiel 37; baptismal accounts of Jesus in the synoptic gospels; John 3:6-8; Acts 2; Romans 8, 12; 1 Corinthians 12; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:3; Revelation 22

Baptism

Water; baptism in Spirit, water, and blood; the Trinity; entrance into the church; profession of faith; gift of the Spirit; baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist; rebirth; dying and rising with Christ; implements of early Anabaptist baptism (ladles, pails, streams, a hat!); a sense of being drenched/poured onto; cruciform baptistries for immersion in, e.g., Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Ephesus, Los Angeles cathedral; Kim Ki-Chang’s Christ’s Baptism by John

Baptismal accounts of Jesus; John 3; Romans 6; Matthew 28; Ephesians 4:22-24

Communion

Bread and cup; remembrance; thanksgiving; fellowship; gift of the Spirit; feast of the reign of God; extravagant welcome; commitment and community; footwashing; bread for the world; gathering; to be within the fold; opportunity to connect the sharing (koinonia) of bread with the practice of justice; breads from around the world; feast; Rublev’s The Trinity/Emmaus/The Hospitality of Abraham; Joseph Mulamba-Mandangi’s The Last Supper

Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 13; Luke 24; John 6; 1 Corinthians 10, 11

Service and Witness

Peace; justice; service; mission; evangelism; international development; volunteering locally; storytelling; testimony; lamenting injustice; protests; to have a voice; Mennonite Central Committee; MCC relief sales; Jan Luyken’s Dirk Willms woodcut

Isaiah 58; Matthew 4:18-22; 5; 10:5-15; 28; Mark 6:6-13; Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-12, 25-37; John 20; 2 Corinthians 3; 5:11–6:10; 8–9; James 3:13-18

Sending

Commissioning; blessing; calling; vocation; new creation; hope; dancing, walking, moving; sojourning; worship in all of life; the traveler and the journey; Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew; John August Swanson’s Festival of Lights

Genesis 12; Numbers 6:22-27; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Samuel 3; Jeremiah 29:4-14; Matthew 28; John 20; Hebrews 13:20-21; Jude 24-25

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