Nurturing Spirit Through Song: The Life of Mary K. Oyer

Book, 2007, 300 pp
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Mary K. Oyer is a remarkable woman whose teaching has touched many people directly and personally. Nurturing Spirit through Song offers a look at her remarkable life and contributions to church-related music and hymnody.

As a teacher, Oyer opened the worlds of music, visual art, and architecture to two generations of students at Goshen (Ind) College, and over the years the visual and musical literacy of the church was enlarged. In addition, few leaders can help amateur singers experience the richness of singing the way Oyer can. For good reason, Oyer was named one of the most influential people in the Mennonite church at the turn of the new millennium.

No single voice can gather up the influence that Oyer has had on students and colleagues over sixty years of teaching. This book is a chorus of voices, including Oyer’s own, that attempts to sing the variegations of her contributions to our lives.

What emerges is testimony to the life of a gifted woman who is truly human yet redeemed, exacting in principle yet rich in generosity, authoritative in competence yet quick in humility, and rooted in a Mennonite tradition yet open to the world.

Also see related DVD Nurturing Spirit Through Song: The Legacy of Mary K. Oyer
“This is a tribute to an extraordinary woman—musician, teacher, mentor and builder of cultural bridges through song.”—Alice Parker, composer

“This book captures the life, energy, imagination, and intelligence of one whose traits have always resisted summation.”—Ken Nafziger, Professor of Music, Eastern Mennonite University“‘I thank my God every time I remember you.’ What Paul wrote to the Philippians expresses what many across the ecumenical spectrum feel about Oyer. Her lifetime of faithful service has inspired and challenged us.”—John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

“Part biography, part history, part hagiography, part anthology, this book provides multiple prisms through which readers catch glimpses of Mary Oyer and her worlds. Stitching together contributions from a dozen writers and Oyer herself, the editors offer a global, informative patchwork.”—Joe Springer, Curator, Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College

“Those of us mentored by Mary Oyer applaud this well-deserved documentation of her remarkable life, wisdom, and spirit. Those who come to her story here will learn what it means to be fully alive to one’s potential.”—Marilyn Houser Hamm, Music Committee Chair for Hymnal: AWorship Book; and former Director, Worship and Spirituality, Mennonite Church Canada

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