606 stories: from Sea World to Cubaby Anna Groff
Read more about "606" here.
We have had "606 JOY" as our PA license plate since the early 1980s. We chose it because it lets other Mennonites know we, too, are Mennonites, and it adds the touch of joy. Also it creates enough curiosity in others to ask about it, which gives an opportunity to tell others that Mennonites are Christians who love to sing their joyful faith. One time in an area not heavily populated with Mennonites a car went by that held up to the rear window a scribbled note, "Hymn 606.”—Paul Burkholder
Jim Clemens, a composer, attended the Mennonite Church convention at Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1981. A youth member in his group who was developmentally disabled liked to direct "606" ("Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"). Someone outside the youth group learned this and invited him to lead "606" in front of all the youth during worship, which touched many youth at the convention.
Everett Thomas, editor of The Mennonite, remembers when the youth convention at Orlando ’97 filled the Sea World stadium for a private showing and sang "606" to Shamu while waiting for the performance to begin.
Ken Nafziger, professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., says when the group Sweet Honey in the Rock performed at Goshen (Ind.) College, one singer, Ysaye Maria Barnwell, was particularly impressed when the audience sang "606." Later, when she traveled with Ken and his EMU students in Cuba during the 2002-03 school year, she asked them to teach her the bass part to "606." She said, “Next time [I am in Goshen], I want to be prepared.” Last fall, Sweet Honey in the Rock returned to Goshen, and she was able to sing along to “606” with the audience.
At Goshen College soccer games, fans sing "606" when the clock hits 6:06, often jumping up and down during the final "Alleluia" section.
"606" is "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow"—hymn number 118 in the Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992)—the doxology commonly known as “606” for its hymn number in The Mennonite Hymnal (1969).
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