First Lilly Worship and Music Projects Provide Models To Replicate
The 2018-19 Lilly Peer Learning Project in Worship and Music at the Church Music Institute with nine clergy/musician teams and 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 by the Lilly Scholars and their congregations can be replicated anywhere because it is the process that is so valuable.
The clergy and musician teams took two courses, one at the beginning and end of the year-long overall project, attended by the clergy/musician Scholars, other seminarians at Brite Divinity School, 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 at the intersection of theology and music.
Congregational Projects of Note
- A forum convened experts in hymnody, church history, linguistics, and copyright law to discuss “Expansive Language: Theological and Musical Implications for Church Music,” as those issues affected decisions for worship in one congregation.
- A children’s choir program was begun using congregational resources already in place, carefully consulting with existing educational and other programming to maximize participation and effectiveness of the new music programs and for sustainability.
- An inter-generational class taught families about the liturgical and musical forms of their worship so they could participate with greatesr 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 could use a hymnal in weekly worship – and also show the adults how to use it.
- Music was introduced gradually into a formerly spoken service, building on the musical memories of the congregation for choosing music to be sung, and preserving the dignity of the quiet service they valued.
Any congregation wanting more information on these projects or wishing to contact the congregations who implemented them may request that through the Church Music Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org, re: 2018-19 Lilly Peer Learning Project in Worship and Music.
Click for a summary of each participating team:
Canyon Creek Presbyterian, Dallas, TX
First Plymouth Congregational, Fort Collins, CO
First Plymouth Congregational, Boulder CO
Heart of the Rockies Christian, Fort Collins, CO
Our Redeemer Lutheran, Dallas, TX
St Michael and All Angels, Dallas, TX
Rush Creek Christian Church, Arlington, TX
University Christian Church, Fort Worth, TX
Zion Lutheran, Dallas, TX