Monday, May 21, 2018

Pentecost stained glass

Our worship and arts team has been transitioning away from floral arrangements in our worship space for some time. We have had fewer people sign up to provide flowers, and the committee has been hesitant to spend money on weekly arrangements that didn't seem to speak to worshipers in the way they did in generations part. The committee has taken this as an opportunity to expand what we offer in our worship space, by including the visual arts. Our first foray into this was for Pentecost this year.

Member Barbara Brinson has been dabbling in stained glass for some time. As we developed our plan for worship art installations in the sanctuary she shared an interest in creating something in glass. Over the course of several months we shared in committee meetings her planning, design, and execution of the project, as well as the usual emotional work that artists endure as they create something. The end product was ready a couple of weeks ago, and we installed it late last week.

The piece is 28.5 inches square with zinc borders. One piece is chipped which we agreed was part of the charm of the overall work. The piece was well-received by both worshiping congregations yesterday. We intend to have the piece framed and later installed in our facility. We purchased a nice easel to support the piece, as those we had on hand were too flimsy to support. We hope to have other stained glass pieces to display similarly in the future.

In addition to Pentecost festivities, we designated 5/20 to be our own congregation's 110th birthday, so there were balloons and cake to round out the visual feast.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Narthex gallery update


Detail from Heart of a Sunflower, by Susan Wilkinson

It’s not much, but it speaks volumes. A single wall in our narthex is frequently used to display art by members of our congregation. Often for month-long periods, we can view and reflect upon the artistic expressions of some of the visual artists in our congregation.  Cooperating with other groups in our congregation (Weekday School for their spring art show; Alternative Giving display before Christmas for example), and under the coordination of the scheduler, the Worship and Music committee plans use of the display wall throughout the year. Susan Wilkinson, a new member in our congregation has begun scheduling installations in the narthex gallery space this month. She inherits this job from Alida Grady who has faithfully done so for several years. In the best spirit of celebrating creativity, the committee does not expect that all of the art displayed in the narthex be “religious” though it is always appropriate. We welcome all levels of ability and any media that can fit in the space available. Many times the works displayed are available for purchase from the artist; speak to them directly for more information. I was reminded of the importance of this aspect of our church's ministry when I read this article in Christian Century recently. The undertaking being discussed is massive, but the commitment of the various churches involved is striking.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Good Friday 2018, Sacred Concert

After a couple of years in which Good Friday did not feature music, I did a sacred concert this year on organ. I forget how it transpired but ultimately I settled on using the Moravian Church's Passion Week Manual (1955) as a basis. The manual is a series of services for each night of Holy Week which are basically the gospel narratives harmonized into one continuous reading, interspersed with hymns. It was those hymns that I wanted to explore. I initially chose about a dozen, and pared that down to nine. I went about seeking settings of the tunes for the various hymns. Many I had on hand, but I had to go seeking a couple. One of my favorite Moravian hymns is Ten-thousand times ten-thousand, and I was certain I wanted to include a setting of that in the program. However I could not find a setting anywhere. I asked several colleagues and sources to no avail. I found out about a piano setting by Margaret Sandresky (in Winston-Salem), but when I looked it over decided it was too pianistic for my purposes. Along the way I traded emails with Wayne Leupold in Colfax, who publishes a lot of Sandresky's organ music. He happened to copy the composer on a message, and later that same day I had a phone call from Mrs. Sandresky. She offered to compose something for my needs, saying she already had the broad shape mapped out in her mind! The piece arrived a scant 5 days later. I was thrilled at her generosity, and delighted that the listening audience would get to participate in a premiere. In years past the program from this concert has offered poetry for meditation. I decided this time to concentrate on explaining the hymns and the settings being performed., along with some Moravian history. I think it turned out well, and have heard many favorable things in the days following. The program cover is above. The complete booklet is here. It's a scan of the hard-copy, so it's a little whonky.

Maundy Thursday 2018

In our planning session we considered some interest from the congregation for a Taize-style service. I wondered aloud if it might be possible to craft a Maundy Thursday service in the style of Taize.
 
 I posted a couple of queries among my colleagues and got a few responses, but nothing very detailed. But I also decided that what I imagined wasn't totally off the wall. One source strongly suggested to me was material from the Holden community. Their "prayer at the cross" services seemed relevant, and I used some materials from them to craft the service. Our music ensemble was piano, guitar, fllute, and cello, plus two singers. We did several Taize songs, but also one from Holden, a Pashto refrain, and a pretty traditional psalm response at the confession rite.
 
 We had several lay folks lead the liturgy, with the clergy presiding at the table. A key focus was the visual installation. I wanted to include fabric draped from the ceiling, plants, a large cross, candles and icons. We managed to get all that included. I have heard from many folks that this service was quite meaningful for them. Our time of silence in the middle of the service was 4 minutes long, quite impressive for Presbyterians!


We had a central installation with two ancillary areas along the walls. Folks made use of all the spaces.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Music for 2018.02.25



FirstLight
Gathering Song(s)
Hiding place (STF  2055)

Opening Song
Everlasting God

Confession
Take, O take me as I am

Prayers
Goodness is stronger than evil

Offertory
We believe

Closing Song
How firm a foundation

11 AM
Hymns
NN, From all that dwell below the skies (DUKE STREET)
697, Take my life and let it be (HENDON)
630, Fairest Lord Jesus (CRUSADERS' HYMN)

Confession
698, Take, O take me as I am (TAKE ME)

Prayers
750, Goodness is stronger than evil (GOODNESS IS STRONGER)

Doxology PLEADING SAVIOR
For the life that you have given, for the love in Christ made known,
With these fruits of time and labor, with these gifts that are your own:
Here we offer, Lord, our praises; heart and mind and strength we bring;
Give us grace to love and serve you, living what we pray and sing.

Instrumental Music
Prelude: Florence B. Price, Adoration
Offertory: Richard Smallwood, I love the Lord who heard my cry
            Follow along at GTG #799
Postlude: Adolphus Hailstork, Toccata on Great Day

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Music for 2018.02.11



FirstLight
Gathering Song(s)
Cantai ao Senhor

Opening Song
Did you feel the mountains tremble 

Confession
We are one in the Spirit 

Offertory
O for a thousand tongues to sing

Communion
We are an offering

Closing Song
Bind us together


11 AM
Hymns
511, Come, behold, the feast of heaven
526, Let us talents and tongues employ

Confession
300.1, We are one in the Spirit (THEY’LL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS)

Doxology LASST UNS ERFREUEN

Communion
Responses: GTG 572, 573, 574

Instrumental Music
Prelude: Arr. John A. Behnke, Voluntary on Linstead
Offertory: Kevin Reihle, We all are one in mission
Postlude: Alan Ridout, Scherzo

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Music for 2018.02.04

FirstLight
Gathering Song(s)
Cantai ao Senhor (O Sing to the Lord/Cantad al Senor) (Eminor and/or D minor)

Opening Song
Did you feel the mountains tremble (in A)

Confession
We are one in the Spirit (STF 2223, in F minor)

Offertory
O for a thousand tongues to sing

Closing Song
Bind us together (STF 2226)


11 AM
Hymns
14, For the beauty of the earth (DIX)
729, Lord, I want to be a Christian (LORD I WANT)
318, In Christ there is no east or west (ST PETER)

Confession
300.1, We are one in the Spirit (THEY’LL KOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS)

Doxology FOREST GREEN

Instrumental Music
Prelude: James Cox Beckel, Voluntary in Free Style
Offertory: Arr. Hal Hopson, All hail the power of Jesus’ name
Postlude: W. Eugene Thayer, Festive Voluntary in G