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Lilly Peer Learning Project Update

The Lilly Peer Learning Project in Worship and Music is now nearing completion. Clergy/musician teams selected as Lilly Scholars, along with their congregational representatives, developed projects that were natural progressions for already vital, valued worship in their congregations. These projects also have value for other congregations. The overall goals and methods used can be replicated anywhere.

The clergy and musician teams took two courses, one at the beginning and end of the year-long overall project, attended by the Scholars, seminarians, graduate music students, and audited by other professionals and laypersons. The “Music in Christian Worship” and “Congregational Song” courses were developed by the Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer and hosted by Brite Divinity School. Additional faculty were Rev. Dr. Michael Joncas and Dr. David Cherwien. Between the courses, teams met monthly to discuss their congregational projects and study other materials. Congregational projects of note:

  • A forum convened and experts in hymnody, church history, linguistics, and copyright law discussed "Expansive Language: Theological and Musical Implications on Church Music;"
  • A children’s choir program was begun using congregational resources, carefully consulting with existing educational and other programming to maximize participation and effectiveness of the new music programs;
  • An inter-generational class taught families about the liturgical and musical forms of their worship so that they could participate with greater understanding and use the hymnal at home for family worship;
  • A “non-liturgical” church moved toward framing their worship within the liturgical year, noting seasons of the church year, with the pastor beginning to use the lectionary which allowed for coordination of music and scriptural texts;
  • Children in a church school were taught morning prayer service music and how to use the hymnal so that children as young as first and second grade were able to use a hymnal in weekly worship;
  • Music gradually was introduced into a formerly spoken service, building on the musical memories of the congregation in choosing music to be sung, and preserving the dignity of the quiet service they valued.

The next Lilly Scholars will be chosen in Spring, 2020 for the Summer, 2020-2021 cohort. Interested? Contact Dr. Kroeker at CMI!

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