This blog post was originally published by the Anabaptist Worship Network. Reprinted with permission.
This article is part of our series on Voices Together, the new worship and song collection from MennoMedia, in partnership with Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.
Katie Graber is an ethnomusicologist who studies race and ethnicity in a variety of contexts, including Mennonite music, American music and European opera. She teaches classes on Western music history and world music at the Ohio State University, and she leads singing at her church in Columbus, Ohio. She co-directs the Anabaptist Worship Network and chaired the Intercultural Worship committee for the Voices Together project.
Anneli Loepp Thiessen is a Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Ottawa, where she studies diversity and equity in the contemporary worship music industry. She is a co-director of Anabaptist Worship Network and director of Ontario Mennonite Music Camp. Anneli was honored to serve as a committee member for the Voices Together hymnal.
During the month of June, many churches will celebrate Pride Month, as a way to honor the presence, gifts and leadership of LGBTQIA2+ people within their communities. There are many resources in Voices Together that can be particularly powerful additions to these worship services.
In the “Topics and Uses in Worship Index,” there are relevant entries, including “Unity in Diversity” and “Justice.” In addition, people from the Anabaptist Worship Network Facebook group have suggested the following songs and worship resources:
1 – “Summoned by the God Who Made Us”
The first song in Voices Together, calls us to “sing a new church into being.” Verse two speaks of “every person in God’s image, every person, God’s delight.”
36 – “Let Us Build a House/All Are Welcome”
A Catholic folk classic; an anthem of welcome. The final verse calls for us to build a house “where all are named, their songs and visions heard.”
42 – “Could It Be That God is Singing”
A new text, by Mennonite poet Becca Lachmann, that invites singers to see God in themselves and others, and to respond to God’s light and breath through song.
156 – “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”
A classic hymn that celebrates God’s expansive love. Verse three sings: “But we make God’s love too narrow by false limits of our own, and we magnify its strictness with a zeal God will not own.”
172 – “God Calls You Good”
A call to recognize the inherent, God-given goodness in each of us: “God calls me good, beloved child.”
174 – “Christ Has Broken Down the Wall”
An anthem that calls for us to break down divisions, with verse two proclaiming, “We’re accepted as we are.”
582 – “My Love Colors Outside the Lines”
An upbeat piece that invites us to explore beyond our familiar boundaries; verse three sings “I want to walk beyond the boundaries where I’ve never been before, throw open doors to worlds outside the lines.”
801 – “I’m Gonna Eat at the Welcome Table”
A compelling call for justice from the African American tradition. Here is more information about its words and history.
802 – “Draw the Circle”
The simple, yet powerful, lyrics of this song call us to draw the circle wide, and wider still. Each section can be repeated multiple times, proclaiming, “Let this be our song: no one stands alone.”
809 – “Sing a New World into Being”
Verse two draws on rainbow imagery to imagine the expansiveness of singing a new world into being “… where each gender, class, and race brings its rainbow gifts and colors to God’s limitless embrace.”
856 – “Christ is like a single body” (WR)
A responsive reading, based on 1 Corinthians 12.
862 – “You who open doors” (WR)
A prayer to God who “opens doors and dismantles barriers.”
1005 – “That huge ‘Why?'” (WR)
A reading that honors doubt and questioning, while offering “the incredible risk of love” as a response.
1020 – “God of extravagant mercy” (WR)
An offering dedication that pledges our monetary gifts and prayers to protest evil and injustice.
1048 – “Let the rain come and wash away” (WR)
A responsive reading, written by Rabbi Harold Kushner, that uses nature imagery to ask God to wash away hatred and hurt and bring healing and growth.
There are many resources available beyond Voices Together, as well. The Hymn Society produced a collection of songs affirming the LGBTQIA2+ community, called Songs for the Holy Other. Mennonite connections to that resource include Cedar Klassen, who was the committee coordinator for the resource, and Adam Tice, who has texts featured in the collection. On the “Together in Worship” website, you can find resources from the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBTQ Interests, including a liturgy for gender transition and a liturgy for Pride Sunday.
For more information on Voices Together, visit voicestogetherhymnal.org.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.