After almost a year of job searching and interviews around Boston, I’m excited to begin ministry as minister of worship and music at Trinitarian Congregational Church in Wayland, MA. Today is my final meeting with the elder board, and if all goes according to plan I should be starting within a few weeks! In my interviews and meetings, I was initially impressed with the quality of musicians at the church, and the passion from the search committee and pastors in both maintaining the rich protestant heritage of hymns and incorporating new styles of worship. Like any church, there will be some resistance to change at TCC, but from the feedback I’ve heard when I lead back in July, the congregation is very receptive to developing and maturing their worship in creative ways, both new and old. I hope that I can hear the many voices of the congregation, and also remember the things I’ve been studying and thinking about for the past few years as I begin forming the services, shaping the liturgy, and teaching the choir and bands how to lead others in worship. I’m really excited to get my feet wet in real-life church work! Here are a few things I’m thinking about going into it. Do let me know if you resonate with any of them in the comments:
1. The Anglican church produces worship materials on their website which will be very helpful in forming liturgies over the year. In a small footnote at the bottom of one document titled “introductory material” it states: “The social and economic needs of the city do not fit obviously into an annual cycle in the way that the rhythms of the agricultural year do, and the pace of urban change is so rapid that we have not devised a corresponding set of urban liturgies.” TCC is a relatively ‘low-church’ (compared to some churches in New England) in that it does not form its liturgy around the standard church year (besides advent/christmas/holy week/easter). In this context, what is the place for a yearly liturgical cycle? Are church seasons worth implementing to give insight into the rhythm of christian life, and if so, are the resonant with 21st century thought?
2. In September the church will be launching a saturday evening service (I’m shooting to call it evensong). How can we avoid the downfall of discontinuity that affects many churches that offer multiple styles? How can we maintain an identity as one church, though we offer three separate services? What can we do as the worship planning team to unify the services and avoid a generational split? How can we make a parishioners decision to attend one particular service a decision of our devotion to God and not a decision of our consumerist have-it-my-way identity?
3. How can we create a holistic vision for worship and arts, not simply focusing on sunday (or saturday) worship, but to encourage worship in small groups in peoples homes, at other church gatherings and events, and the sharing of our other artistic gifts (visual arts/drama/poetry)
4. How can we produce music and other arts events that outreach to the community and share the Gospel in new and creative ways with Christians and non believers alike? A few ideas include: weekly artist gatherings (non-confessional), a prison choir ministry, an advent or christmas concert series.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!