“We come together throughout the world to sing and to make music together,” says Benjamin Bergey, Assembly 17 music coordinator. With attendees from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, “What we have [at Assembly] is an opportunity to reframe what is important about music.”
At this hybrid Assembly, participants who have never been able to attend Assembly before can participate in the music from their homes and local congregations and learn how sharing music can connect communities throughout the world.
“As the world becomes more connected, the music also becomes more shared,” says Benjamin Bergey.
Registrants for Assembly online receive the International Songbook which contains 40 hymns that represent music from Mennonite traditions on five continents.
The selection affirms and celebrates unity in the Anabaptist-Mennonite family while expressing diversity in multiple languages, highlighting new Indonesian and Asian songs to create a base of shared musical language for the years to come.
“By taking the time to learn someone else’s songs, we have another opportunity to make it more universal,” says Benjamin Bergey.
These new songs, with notation help from Anita Purwidaningsih, will be shared by the International Choir and an Indonesian band. The 10 singers come from each of the five continents represented at Assembly, and the band, under the direction of Debora Prabu, features musicians from Indonesian congregations.
For online participants of Assembly, Benjamin Bergey invites all to enter into the music wherever they are.
“For many, a part of what has been really fun has been having 8 000 voices together,” says Benjamin Bergey.
“The music will be very different from the Assemblies in the past, but I really do encourage people to sing from home,” he says. “Try to enter in any that way that feels right or comfortable. If you can be open and dive in with your whole being, you can always learn new things by doing things differently.”
- How has music shaped the ways in which you worship?
- How has music shaped your understanding of different cultures and expressions of faith?
Registering for Assembly online will give you a chance to experience both traditional and contemporary songs that form Mennonite congregations around the world as Anabaptist-Mennonites come together to worship using the unifying language of music.
Find more stories and information about MWC Assembly 2022 here.