Anabaptist Worship Network

Elkhart, Indiana
2022

Project Director: Anneli Loepp Thiessen

To gather songwriters, poets, and artists to produce songs, prayers, art pieces, and videos that will resource and inspire under-resourced Anabaptist communities across North America.

Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community. 

The goal of this project is to elevate the creative voices of a range of Anabaptist artists, while also resourcing Anabaptist worship in communities across North America. Alternative and creative Anabaptist resourcing would benefit those that do not primarily worship through a hymnal. In particular, we want to create resources that are appealing to congregations that worship in languages other than English and congregations that primarily sing contemporary worship music. 

What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generate theological reflection and shape your project? 

With traditional ways of worshipping receiving the most resourcing, what kinds of resources for worship are missing for Anabaptists in North America, particularly those that worship in alternative ways including contemporary worship and worship in many languages?  

How can the artistic and theological voices of women, people of color, disabled individuals, and queer folks become more prominent in Anabaptist worship? 

How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?

By resourcing the breadth of Anabaptist worship we seek to offer convenient and accessible supplements to community worship and hope to help pastors and worship leaders that are in need of fresh ideas. We know that many Anabaptist congregations do not benefit from existing resources, so we hope to revitalize their worship by sharing resources that are meaningful for many different ways of worshipping. 

What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

We know that there are many brilliant Anabaptist artists, writers, musicians, and poets within Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, but we don't necessarily have connections to all of them. We may be particularly limited in knowing who people of colour, queer folks, and disabled individuals are with these gifts. Networking to get to know these people may be one of the biggest challenges. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

We see so much brilliant resourcing emerging from the CICW and other grant recipients, and are eager to hear other ideas for how to better serve under-resourced congregations. We especially hope to learn about strategies for effectively disseminating the resources we will produce.