A brand new edition of the classic Mennonite Hymnal has been slimmed down a little with the elimination of verse three from every single hymn.
“No one was singing verse three anyway,” said Hymnal editor Sarah Wiens. “It was always, ‘Ladies on verse 1, just the men on verse 2, skip verse 3, then everyone altogether on verse 4.’ That’s the way Mennonites have sung hymns for centuries.”
It is thought by Mennonite hymnal historians that Verse 3 was shunned sometime in the 1700s for dressing immodestly.
“We don’t have any clear record on why Verse 3 was shunned,” said historian Peter Yoder, “but we do know that Verse 3 was asked to apologize in front of the congregation, but refused. Since then, Mennonites have had nothing to do with any Verse 3 they’ve come into contact with.”
In reaction, some more liberal Mennonite congregations have created their own hymnal consisting of nothing but Verse 3s.
“We want to show Verse 3 that he’s accepted and we make no judgements,” said pastor Bill. “We are an inclusive congregation. We make no distinction. We’ll accept you no matter what verse you are.”
(Photo credit: Don DeBold/CC/modified)