Thank you to those who were involved in the conversations about music and worship this December! It wasn’t always easy. The second forum in particular was more well attended than I anticipated. As facilitator I found it challenging to call on people who raised their hands in the right order. But for me the experience of one voice after another was a little like standing in worship for the prayers of intercession, in that moment when everyone is invited to speak. Pastor Kate and I appreciated your heartfelt honesty in expression, shown first by the FLY youth who were present to start us off (after it was over, I went to the office, wrote down your names and tried to remember what each of you said. Hopefully, many of you will also fill out the survey to refresh our memory!) We also appreciated your willingness to listen, even when words might be difficult to hear.
Pastor Kate had said in her sermon “pray without ceasing, before God, and before our family in faith.” I think conversation can be a form of prayer, when we’re humble and open. Worship can happen in the library as well as the sanctuary. Sometimes, during the prayers of intercession, I’ll want to share some concern about, say, racism, and struggle to find the words, when suddenly someone from across the sanctuary finds them first. He reads his carefully crafted petition, calling out for God’s justice and that we might recognize the value of all people. It’s a moment of grace for me. I saw this happening in the library, too. One person shares their view and other says “yes! Well said!” One of our roles as pastors will be to help listen for these moments when it comes together, in our work of discerning God’s leading. We are encouraged by what Jesus said: “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened for you.”
I feel uplifted when I heard your shared passions and concerns. I won’t say much until the surveys come in, so this will sound pretty vague, but generally it seems clear that most people highly value the music program at FCL – the musicians, choirs, instruments and repertoire – as well as the liturgy. Many would like to see us build on (not fix) what we’ve been blessed with, seeking ever more variety in musical expression and finding new ways to support and encourage congregational participation in the music and liturgy. More next month!
Some have said, “why are we talking about this now? Shouldn’t we be talking about our mission in the community? The budget? Changes in volunteer availability?” In preparation for the search for a new music / choir director this Spring, it did seem important to explore the goal identified during the call process, about the possibility of building on and expanding the variety of music we use in worship. However, there are more conversations to come! In this way pastors and congregation get to know one another better, work to identify shared values, and listen for God’s leading.
Reading and discussing “The Freedom of a Christian” this month is one way we’ll explore our shared Lutheran roots, revisit the purpose of worship and talk about how we approach the calling to serve our neighbors. There will be an annual meeting, when we look at a budget that fits a completed Webster project. Work is also underway on a revitalized website – the website truly being the “front door” of the church. Council, IT Committee and others have been asking: what do we say, what images do we use, how do we present ourselves, succinctly and in a compelling way? There will be opportunities to give ponder and give input.
In gratitude for your support, we look forward to it!