Worship Study

    Worship Study 17

    Summary of May and June 2012 Worship Study

    These are the 2 final sessions of our 3 years of worship study project.  Over the years, we have covered quite a few aspects of our worship analysis.  This concludes our topic on Worship and Culture.
    This is a further analysis of how to make our worship more contextual.  Basically, this church attempts to interact further with the society as a community within its locality.  By visiting the farms and factories and using summer school programs, they trace how the church community is part of the wider community in the place.  When issues surface, like when a farm closes down, it fosters communication between the society and the church community.
    What we can learn from this is that the Church need community awareness of its locality.  Jubilee Church needs to be aware of the community of the Tiong Bahru area, and perhaps become part of the voices of this place.

    PeiSong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/how-mission-partnerships-can-deepen-worship
    This article is about how mission can be part of the voices in our worship.  Missionaries and those involved in mission can add context and content to our message of worship.

    Linking this to the contextual message of the earlier discussion on community work, there needs to be a combined effort for mission, community work to be part of the content of our worship.  let’s allow for more collaboration within our various ministries so that our worship can be enriched.

    Weizhen’s sharing from this message is that “you can be yourself” when you worship.  Everybody must feel free to contribute, and the key for such free contribution is that there must be intentional diversity in our worship form.  Some ideas of diversity at work include:
    1. Global music unites
    2. Healing in the worship (large range of music and emotions)
    3. Liveliness with easy to remember words
    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/response-to-inculturation-worship-and-dispositions-for-ministry-roberta-r-king
    This is a response to John Witvliet’s Afterword in Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices.
    1. The first point is that when deciding what is essential and non-essential in our worship practice, we might cause the transcultural elements override the contextual elements of our worship.
    2. In the enthusiasm to learn from other cultures and making our worship more global, we might fail to connect with out own community.  Thus the key to teach contexts and background before applying the foreign practices is very important.  Direct application:  When we tried to do the responsorial psalm singing of Ps 113 and 114, it was perhaps better that we teach the meaning of its practice first.
    3.  The final point is a caution against the shadow of cultural imperialism and that the work for contextualization is far from complete.
    Celeste: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/spiritual-gifts-and-worship-christine-jerrett
    Celeste shared on the work of spiritual gifts in our worship.  When we change worship content, it is not just the style.  Instead, we begin with our theological reflection.  God is bigger than our consumeristic mind.  our worship remains Christocentric, and our gifts is for witnessing.  Our liturgy therefore must manifest this message.  That the church is the creation of the Holy Spirit, and that it is a continuation of Christ’s victory.  Ultimately, what draws more people to our service should be the people of God that reflects this belief.
    WanLeng: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/new-ethnic-churches-visit-one-soon
    WanLeng shared on this new phenonmenon with us.  And a list of new immigrants churches is given.  We took some time to reflect on the Singapore situation of new migrants and the various churches’ response.
    We thank all for these years of participation.  And this series of worship studies have come to a close.
    Worship Study 16

    Summary for Worship Study March 2012

    WanLing: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/multicultural-leadership-in-worship-sharing-power-among-cultures
    WanLeng continued the discussion on Worship and Culture with the topic of power-sharing in a multi-cultural environment. She reflected that the article doesn’t really shares why power-sharing is essential and presumes its necessity. Instead the article shares the methods of powersharing.
    1. The first is a self-examination process. Are there different worship leaders on stage? Are there different languages reprresented? Is there awareness of different cultural practices during worship, such as different funeral practices for different races?
    2. To allow for cultural shifts in powersharing, we can:
    2a. Look for bi-cultural people
    2b Connect with international students who came from a different culture
    2c Look at poverty – representation from the maginalised
    2d How the visual aspects (pictures and liturgical arts) speak

    We reflected on the situation in Jubilee and made the following conclusions
    1. As long as the community is heard, token representations are not as important.
    2. We would start a song writing or poetry writing competition to foster such voicing out
    3. Relationship with God is key is building such a community

    PeiSong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/contemporary-worship-music-matures
    Peisong continued the sharing by reflecting on hiw the contemporary songs has matured over time (perhaps bridging the contemporary cultures with the more traditional cultures). The key to such maturing is asking the right questions. (What would help people pray? What has God done and what He will do?)

    Speaking of this, we reflected that the sessions in TaiZe had opened our awareness to the rich heritage we have in written prayers over the centuries. Such exposure would be highly beneficial to Chairpersons and those doing public prayers. We plan to schedule a training session for our Chairpersons soon.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/reformed-churches-worldwide-a-common-heritage
    Cathy concluded the session with a discussion on the Presbyterian Distinctiveness of worship with churches everywhere
    1. Word remains central
    2. Strong integration with world and life perspectives (worship is always initiated by Grace, renewed in the community, and concluded with the Sending )
    3. Songs were used to share about all of life. Hymns were shared and indigenous music is used.
    4. Focus on Hospitality
    5. Joy of worship
    6. Prayer of and by the people (Amen!)

    Cathy highlighted the rich tradition of the Genevan Psalter. We WILL be attempting a Chinese translation of Psalm 124, 113 and 136 for our Choir this year. 😉

    Worship Study 14&15

    This year 2012, we will be focusing on The Fifth Conviction: Worship must have an open and discerning approach to culture

    Worship should strike a healthy balance among four approaches or dimensions to its cultural context: worship is transcultural (some elements of worship are beyond culture), contextual (worship reflects the culture in which it is offered), cross-cultural (worship breaks barriers of culture through worship), and counter-cultural (worship resists the idolatries of its cultural context.

    ALL watched the 6 min video on this page as introduction: http://vimeo.com/32210532

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/worshiping-the-triune-god-receiving-and-sharing-christian-wisdom-across-continents-and-centuries
    This is a collection of verses which spells out the convictions on Christian Wisdom throughout history universally. It would be very helpful to share and proclaim them as a Church.

    PeiSong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/pablo-sosa-on-congregational-singing
    This is a sharing on how worship leading is a skill that can be practiced universally. There are 4 keys to remember:
    1. Let the people sing. Using simple songs, it is important to let the people express themselves fully.
    2. Let the people accept the gift of difference. This is an educational aspect of worship, so that we learn to appreciate one another.
    3. Oral Tradition. It is important to keep things simple so that it can be easily passed on.
    4. Confidence in the people. Worship and be fun and meaningful when we let the people express themselves.

    WanLeng: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/learning-worship-together-how-worship-change-happens
    The key to making changes in worship is getting people involved in the change making process. We ask people to pray for one another. We get leaders like elders to be involved in liturgy. When people are involved in the different aspects of worship, they are educated, and this can lead on to new talents. As a team, we agree that education would be one of the main task of the Church to look into.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/global-perspectives-on-worship
    This is a forum on changes in worship happening in different parts of the world. This is the Summary:
    Global Perspectives on Worship – Presented at the 2006 Calvin Symposium on Worship.
    Emily Brink (Chair)
    Presenters: Roberta King (Ethnomusicologist), Jorge Lockward (Central & South America), Setri Nyomi (Africa), Angela Tam (Asia)
    1.What are the two most encouraging developments and 2.What are the two most challenges you see in your part of the world?
    Asia (China, Korea, Japan, India, the Philippines, Indonesia[350 ethnic groups]): Angela Tam
    Her relationship with WACCM has enabled her to visit Chinese Churches in Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
    1. Preaching is still pretty much the center of worship in most Chinese Evangelical Churches. They fail to see worship as an integrated whole but rather treating preaching as an isolated event.
    2. Resources in China, lack systematic textbooks on all fields of theology including church music history. There are many resources in the West on Worship, liturgy and hymns yet lack translation. Need more workers to bridge those gaps.
    3. Change of Pastors’ hearts. Pastors who work in the faster pace society such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are frequently being pressurized to change the style of music.
    4. Theological Education System in seminaries does not focus too much on the Liturgy and the art of Worship. In Angela Tam’s mind, a complete Church Music Program is an interdisciplinary work between Theology-Music-Liturgy. They cannot be separated. In the past, we see choir being a performer, organist being a program fitter, hymns being a fill-in blanks.

    1. Youth hunger for the Word. Old Testament is generally quite connected with the New Testament. In the past, Scripture Reading is a subsidiary part to the Sermon (instead of being a central part). Reading of scripture is an unimportant thing. It is like a public relation thing, you assign a deacon, a famous deacon to read the bible. Now we are seeing youth, 12th grade to Pre-U students, after 2 hours of bible study are still willing to stay behind and have an interest to learn or to read the bible. This is very encouraging.
    2. Good Sign; Church Musician becomes Liturgists. To be more liturgical minded than just musically minded. We are seeing more liturgical composers, composing for hymns, interludes, introductions, congregational songs, responses which are used to be despised; Liturgical Soloists, filling the Cantors’ role; Liturgical Conductors, not interested in showing off conducting skills, by to direct the choir to take up their liturgical role and lead the congregation in worship.
    3. Hymnals moving away from only Western Hymns to include local composers. We are seeing more translations paying attention to the intervallic movements of the text.
    4. Join effort of denomination, combining their efforts and skills, and people and resources to make better worship materials.
    Central & South America : Jorge Lockward (Latin American)

    1. Rise of Praise and Worship, we speak of it as if it is a musical movement or stylistic movement, but it primarily is a theological movement because it is a way of understanding God, understanding ourselves, understanding the world and understanding the relationship among all these things.
    It put liturgy/worship back in the centre of the church, quite similar to the Orthodox Church. Praise of God’s people is the most important thing, the transformation happens through the praise.
    2. Rise of the Worship Leaders, a very distinct category within church life. Increase presence and acknowledge self-understanding as teacher, as modeller, as pastor of music, greater financial remuneration, work that involves partnership with the preacher. The worship leader is a figure. Traditional missionary took pride in English, though speak Spanish but with a English accent. (excessive). Who do you see? Michael Sweet? Ron Kenoly? Big school in Washington for Latin American musicians

    1. Homogenizing, locality. Soft Rock, Pop. It is devastating in terms of “to the death of species that may never be again.” Take in as a wholesale with its theological boundaries and understanding could be countering the direction of the Scripture. Christianity is all about Incarnation. This persona might not represents the entire life/body of Christ.

    Africa: Setri Nyomi (Africa) The continent with fastest growth in Christianity despite the negative portrayal by the Media: struggle, poverty, conflict, and Aids desease
    1. The inclusion of joy and dance in worship. Hands clappers, kneelers, worship with candles. Reformed churches were the one who did it properly. In recent decades, there were changes. Impetus came from 1. African Institute of Churches. We need our culture to impact how we worship.
    Vision, Mission, Values
    OAIC’s visions are based on the values and resourcefulness of African grassroots communities (ubuntu). They are expressed in our songs, sermons, prayers and dancing.
    Our Vision
    The people of Africa…
    Transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ….
    ….blessed by the Spirit of God,
    ….building on their cultures,
    ….creating abundant life in community for their children and the world 
    Our Mission The OAIC works to bring African Instituted Churches together in fellowship and to equip and enable them to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.   Values
    OAIC values…
    solidarity with the poor, powerless, and vulnerable
    faith in God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
    African traditions and beliefs
    the concept of ubuntu that privileges care, reciprocity, acceptance and equality
    local control and authority
    human dignity
    2. The Impact of Young People, not comfortable with the form of worship. 1960s. Church were filled with young people. 20-25 year old. Include them as part of decision making. Short songs/hymns. Main Line Churches search who we are? What constitute reform worship. Always reforming.

    1. To what extend are we attending to the total human beings?
    2. To what extend does our worship focus really on God’s Word and not simply as a time to dance and enjoy ourselves or escape but to enjoy God, to celebrate God, to hear God’s voice, to hear how God is challenging us, to continue to worship in the world, then there is something missing – A moment of being still, ambiguous.

    Roberta King (Ethnomusicologist)
    Birds of different rivers chattered differently (Ethiopia’s proverbs)
    Location, Environment. Global: different streams of worship. Opportunity to embrace the diversity, grasp hold of it and allow it to be the center of worship. Western brings along their cultural baggage when spreading the gospel. Long enough to free away from Western influence and worship in their authentic ways. Transplanting, Grafting till rooted on the soil – Worship in spirit and in truth, within their own context.

    Keep a healthy tension between Local and Global.
    The Calvin Symposium on Worship is blessed by increasing numbers of global guests who come to worship and learn. In this session, we explore cultural and liturgical issues our brothers and sisters are addressing, especially in Africa and Asia – for example, intergenerational and multicultural worship; use of indigenous songs, instruments, and dance; use of technology; challenges of religious pluralism. We explore how God is building his church in ways that move us all closer to the unity we have in Christ even as we celebrate the gifts of cultural diversity.

    MinZhi: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/love-globally-worship-locally-how-to-do-church-as-members-of-one-body
    There are four lessons that we can learn about global worship.
    1. Step outside yourself: Seeing your congregation as part of the worldwide body of Christ may require re-thinking how your worship relates to local culture.
    2. Shift your lenses: Not everybody conforms to the stereotype of how we understand their background and culture.
    3. Open your heart: Learn to emphatise with the difficulties that different people face and suffer in their own context.
    4. Ask for help; embrace discomfort: Worshipping globally is a slow process, and we must learn to accept and change slowly.

    Worship Study 13

    This is the summary for our worship study group for June 2011. It is the 6th and final meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. We will be taking a half year break for Worship Study and will recommence in Jan 2012 on the topic: The Fifth Conviction: An open and discerning approach to culture

    Worship should strike a healthy balance among four approaches or dimensions to its cultural context: worship is transcultural (some elements of worship are beyond culture), contextual (worship reflects the culture in which it is offered), cross-cultural (worship breaks barriers of culture through worship), and counter-cultural (worship resists the idolatries of its cultural context.


    Summary for June 2011 Worship Study

    We thank WeeBin from the Children’s Ministry for joining us in this discussion with a focus on the topic Children and the Liturgical Arts. This will also be the last Worship Study that is held together with the Worship Environment Committee. We thank them for their participation in this half year of sharing on the Liturgical Arts.
    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/let-story-form-your-worship-old-testament-and-lectionary-dramas
    Cathy began the discussion sharing about the use of drama in worship. Students need to really understand the scripture in order to write the script for drama. Using drama hence allows children to go in depth into scripture understanding. It is even better if the audience were included into the play. They are also made to think about what is going on.
    Secondly, Props may be used as metaphors for scriptural context. Worship that includes drama therefore integrates the entire environment into the worship experience.
    (Afterthought: the aimless wandering by Ruth to interpret the lost sheep of Ezekiel 34 is an excellent use of space to capture the drama. Well done.)

    XinLiang: http://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-2006/what-jesus-looks-me
    XinLiang shared on a method of incorporating children art into worship without it looking simplistic.
    Step 1: ask good questions. Step 2: Making sure that all chidlren have a part to play, even getting them to talk about one another’s art. Lastly, Project the images during worship.

    MinZhi: http://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-1991/cross-tree-involving-children-lenten-worship
    MinZhi shared on this unique method of getting children to celebrate Lent and Easter.
    Different types of cross were designed and made (see article). Children are then to reflect on the uniqueness of each design and ponder on its meaning. They eventually hang everything on a branch in the hall, followed by a hymn.

    Related articles that were undiscussed: http://www.reformedworship.org/article/september-2008/kids-creating-art-worship & http://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-1986/celebrating-lent-children

    We conclude that involving children in worship would be a great contribution to our vision of intergenerational worship. However, it involves lots of communication, engagement and feedback. We look forward to more opportunities to work in partnership with Children Ministry.

    Worship Study 12

    This is the fifth meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. This is in May 2011. This is a session to continue the focus on the interaction between Liturgical Arts and Technology.

    WanLeng: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/projected-images-in-worship-illustrate-or-illuminate
    We continue with the discussion on the use of technology in liturgical arts, this time focusing on the use of projected images.  WanLeng shared that images can be very powerful because it is more than seeing.  A good image can awaken all five senses into the world of the image.  So it is not a matter of How but Why.  We can focus of the purpose of the image more than finding the most technologically difficult image.  It is not showing and telling, but a dialogue between the congregation and God.  Pictures can influence us deeply, perhaps even more than words.  It is also inclusive since it is not language dependent.  It is also important to remember that less is more.  It is only a visual clue to draw us into the objective of the image.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/digital-storytelling-use-multimedia-in-worship-to-enhance-not-replace
    Cathy continued the sharing by giving examples as to how multimedia can enhance the effects of storytelling.  They provide the sounds and images to a story.  It is telling scripture rather than just reading it.  The aim is to bring people back into the story and then coming out a little changed.  There are a few pointers to the proper use of multimedia:
    1. Start with the liturgy
    2. Use locally produced media
    3. consider the target audience (externally active is singing, internally active is thinking)

    The discussion group has a few responses
    1. Is technology only a lousy replacement?  It is often more realistic to use flesh and blood than to use technology which can be cold and passive.
    2. Some argue that technology is here to stay.  But others say that we only have to accommodate only to a certain degree because they church should have its voice on its use and impact.
    3. As for liturgical arts, it is about balance of the sound-scape and the landscape in our use of technology.  We use it not for the sake of it but with an awareness that there should be a resonance with the people.

    Worship Study 11

    This is the fourth meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. This is in April 2011. This is a session to focus on the interaction between Liturgical Arts and Technology.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/technology-in-worship-beyond-powerpoint/
    Cathy starts the sharing with this article about the purpose of technology. it is not just a tool to attract young people. It is good liturgy that attracts young people. Technology is a tool that help people to connect images to concepts, to contemplate and to reflect. A suggestion is to set up a network of church photographers to collect local photos for church presentations.

    WeiZhen: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/photography-in-worship-picturing-god-rsquo-s-counterstory-building-community
    Weizhen continues the discussion with a sharing on Photography in Liturgical Arts. There is more to a picture than just an image. People can relate to it with all kinds of responses. This builds a story of the community with the story of God. Through a photo collection of the church, it forms a visual link between the people serving in the ministries to the regular church member.

    Action Plan: Junpei of the Church environment committee will set up a network of photographers within the church environment committee. They can provide “local” images for use in powerpoints and art designs in Jubilee.

    PeiSong: http://worshipsymposium.org/archive/231
    Peisong’s sharing is about a panel of people sharing about art exhibitions promoted and organized by churches. It is a plan to bring locals artists to contribute towards Christian themes and perspectives on religion. While this is largely not feasible for Jubilee, we do have the following plan:

    Action Plan: To set up a Reminiscence stairwell along the bell tower of Jubilee. Contributions from all church members can relate about the history of Jubilee, and it can be a collective testimony of the grace of God upon this church. We propose a 3 month window for contributions, after which a “curator” will design the Reminiscence stairwell based on the collection we receive.

    Worship Study 10

    This is the third meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. This is in March 2011. This is a session to focus on the interaction between Liturgical Arts and Architecture.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/renovating-churches-to-build-a-sense-of-community
    Cathy shared from the article that the interior and exterior design of the church can affect how people interact with other fellow-church members. e.g. Flexible space (made possible by movable furniture) that enables people to sit in a half or full round and to see each other during communion or particular seasons of the Christian church year reminds church members that they are a community.

    Church building is theology in stone. It is an expression of the mission, faith, and beliefs of the church. For example, a church added 14 skylights and by shifting patterns of natural light play across the cross and communion area, reminding people that God is always at work in their lives.

    To a church’s neighbors, clear entrances (adding welcoming signage and canopied entrances) says welcome. It says: “There’s a place for you”. We can be good stewards of these assets by offering them as public space. Therefore, fit architectural character to the neighborhood

    DingJun: http://worshipsymposium.org/archive/300

    DingJun starts by stating that church architecture is a testimony of our adoration of God. It is also the visible presence of God to church members. He then shared on the influences that have affected church architecture in the twentieth century. These include the ecumenical movement, the liturgical renewal movement and the modern architectural movement. Thus churches display mutual respect for one another, giving a more unified yet diverse outlook. They engage passionate worshippers and encourage congregational participation and contribution from the Arts. Lastly, the reflect the spirit of the age, which is minimalistic and pragmatic.

    Action Plan: In view of the sharings from Cathy and Dingjun, we decide to start on a plan to uncover the thought behind the design on our current church. Though it is obviously influenced by minimalism, we believe more would be revealed if we were to search through the old records when design is being discussed for the current building.

    Peisong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/baptism-and-church-architecture-what-message-are-you-sending-/
    Xiaohui: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/how-church-architecture-affects-lord-s-supper-practices

    PeiSong and Xiaohui then shared on how theology of the sacraments influence how we do interior design of the sanctuary. Our conclusion is that our theology is somewhat different from the articles’, though it was a good time to think about what we do what we do. We do however need to educate the church members more on such matters and let them appreciate our design and the theology behind it.

    Action Plan: MinZhi will continue to work on the long term goals and vision of Jubilee in five years’ time. Besides the investigation into our current design, we could also include some immediate remedies like road signs and information banners. A breakfast area at the multi-purpose hall is also proposed. Other ideas include a churchwide Liturgical Art event and even a worship session through the Arts.

    Worship Study 9

    This is the second meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship. This is in Feb 2011.

    The 6th Conviction is defined as follows: Worship is enriched by artistic creativity in many genres and media, not as ends to themselves or as open-ended individual inspirations, but all disciplined by the nature of worship as a prophetic and priestly activity.

    MinZhi: Whose Art? Which Church? : http://worshipsymposium.org/archive/187
    MinZhi starts off the session by talking about the social problems that might arise in designing Art in church. The problem arises firstly because it is a collaboration. Yet, do we see the church as the universal body of Christ or as a local gathering of Christians? The theology of the church will shape the level of accommodation and compromise that enters into the artwork. The second issue arises from the Art system itself. Should it be representative or abstract? Should it be Art influencing the church or vice versa?

    Cathy: Good Taste BAd Taste: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/good-taste-bad-taste-and-christian-taste
    Cathy continue the discussion with the article about what is Christian Taste. To ensure that the team of artist can work together well and produce good work, there are four important steps.
    a. There should be reasoning together
    We must get people to engage themselves in the discussion. Learn “teeth without fangs”.
    b. Honoring the other
    There are 4 major pitfalls to avoid. Artwork that is merely artistic, merely religious, intolerant of others, or indiscriminate in nature.
    c. Asking valuable questions
    e.g. It is only one perspective? Is it profound enough such that we can grow into, and not grow out of? Why should we do it?
    d. Consider the context
    The work must fit the flow of the service, good use of tone, and address cross-cultural context.
    Overall, the culture should be non-elitist (it should not be insistent on certain forms), have multiple forms, it should be okay to explain or (inversely) to criticize.

    AiLian: Art that Preaches: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/art-that-preaches
    AiLian shares with us from the article that Art tells us what God has done for us. They should be a vessel that points us to the creator. There are 4 points to note.
    a. We should see ourselves in the gospel story.
    b. Thus the art makes what is invisible visible
    c. We can also recover the riches of symbols.
    d. We can learn to read the images like a letter

    SinLiang: Participation in Worship: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/participation-in-worship-more-than-doing/
    This is Sin Liang’s summary:
    One of the most oft-quoted phrases of the Second Vatican Council is “full, conscious, and active participation. Many if not most Christian denominations are struggling between contemporary vs. traditional worship style battles.
    What, really, is worship participation? We conclude with some comments about how this helps us come to a new self-understanding. “Full, conscious, and active”
    “Active” participation inclusion of the attitudes and silence in this list of active worship elements.
    First, let’s attend to attitude. Sometimes we are not aware how our attitude affects others: if I am bored; if I am angry; if I am enthusiastic,; if I am grateful,; if I am filled with praise; if I am genuinely concerned for others when I make intercession; if I am committed to being there. All this makes a difference not only by affecting others’ participation ability, but it also affects how we are as the church, the body of Christ.
    Second, let’s attend to silence. We might think of silence as a time to do nothing, to vegetate. Silence included with elements of active participation suggests otherwise. In the silence something is to happenactively. Silence, in other words, is a time to do something (pray, contemplate, encounter) and to be someone (creature still before the Creator). Ironically, the moments of silence which we build into our worship services may well become the most engaging, active participation!
    “Active” participation challenges us to get involved, be engaged, do the worship service.
    “Conscious” participation. As the word “conscious” implies, we are speaking here of awareness, of deliberate effort. In fact, in the very call to worship we are invited to gather and present ourselves before the Lord-ultimately to say yes to the divine activity in which we are about to engage ourselves. “Conscious” participation requires of us a surrender of ourselves to the worship event.
    The real work of worship is not so much our active participation (as challenging and demanding as that may well be) as it is the work of surrendering ourselves to God’s presence and God’s action
    “Full” participation. Active engagement and conscious surrender both take us beyond ourselves. Full participation, then, has to do with how God transforms us through the worship event into being more perfect members of the body of Christ.
    Worship involves a bi-directional giving. We give God ourselves in praise and thanks; God gives us Godself as a share in divine life which transforms us into an ever-deepening identity as children of God.

    WanLeng: Embodied Preaching: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/todd-farley-on-embodied-preaching
    WanLeng reminds us from the article that what is visual speaks to us even more than words. There are 3 elements to embodied preaching. 1. God to us (We must breath life into the reading of the text, with gestures and body language. Use the space.). 2. Us to God 3. Us to each other (we express our praise to God to others around us).

    We end with a discussion of our current worship environment. Our assessment is that the current environment is unfocused, disjointed and messy. A lot needs to be done for people to navigate easily and know the movement of the church. Some of the places are also bare and unfriendly. The Auditorium setting is the most conducive for worship.
    With all these in mind, our action plan is to invite MinZhi to draft out the long term goals of the worship environment committee.

    Worship Study 8

    This is the first meeting we have on the 6th Conviction “Disciplined creativity in the arts” under the ten core convictions of worship.  This is in January 2011.

    Worship is enriched by artistic creativity in many genres and media, not as ends to themselves or as open-ended individual inspirations, but all disciplined by the nature of worship as a prophetic and priestly activity.

    We are glad that we have the worship environment committee to join us for this half year of worship study.  It is a chance for fellowship, but also an opportunity for equipping for this much neglected area of worship.

    Cathy: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/visual-arts-in-church-making-the-invisible-word-visible/
    The first 2 sessions of this worship study will focus on the theological and practical aspects of liturgical arts in worship.  Cathy and Celeste starts off by sharing on what does liturgical arts entail.  In Cathy’s article, liturgical arts can come in many forms.
    a. Wind-chimes silenced by a covering cloth to symbolize time in the wilderness.
    b. A collection of miniature lighthouses.
    c. Many pieces of clothes weaved together.
    d. A dove shaped kite flown during the procession to symbolize the HS.
    e. Broken tiles to show brokenness

    An artist should be a calling.  Art is a process, a discovery.  You need the skills as much as the theological understanding.

    Tips for designing a banner
    1. Fit the theme.  2. Consider all corners.  3.  Think theological not convenience.  4. Books can help.  5. Think practical.  6. Call on many gifts, e.g. an electrician. 6. Pay the labor.  7. Involve children.

    Celeste: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/visual-arts-in-worship-from-either-or-to-both-and/
    After which, Celeste shares on the tension within this ministry.  Many prefer the verbal over the visual which si connected to idolatry.  They prefer something you can use rather than something just to look at.  However artwork is important because worship is a dialogue and art is is an instrument of communication.  “Within this dialogue, liturgical art can create a setting (banners, projected images) and generate actions (people walk forward to put checks and cash in colorful porcelain bowl) that serve a liturgical purpose (offering thanks to God).”

    (to be continued)

    Xiaohui: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/how-to-plan-art-used-in-church-worship/
    After looking at the theological aspects of liturgical arts which we will continue next session.  Xiaohui shared on the practical aspects of planning a working team.  Artwork planning is basically facilitating a conversation. It must illustrate a concept.  And it must also point the answer towards God.  In releasing the team to work together, say this:“Team members, release yourselves from coming up with the right idea immediately. Never is the first idea the right idea, but you have to start somewhere. Do not set time limits on yourselves,”  Also, refrain from killer phrases such as ‘There’s no way’ or ‘People would never go for that’ or ‘We could never afford that.’
    Give ample lead time.  “Don’t follow the budget while trying to honor the Spirit.  Follow the Spirit and try to honor the budget.

    PeiSong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/how-congregations-create-worship-visuals/
    PeiSong continued the practical suggestions with the following:
    1. Make sure the team you form is diverse.
    2. Use scripture as the guide
    3. Look after the spiritual needs of the community
    4. Try to make the artwork have an interactive option

    In starting the process of liturgical arts, first look at old things that needs to be replaced, then look at new thing.  Whichever the case, the art should amplify one another instead of competing for attention.

    Action Plan
    1. Form a team (Mostly complete.  This is the worship environment committee)
    2. Evaluate the Environment  (Will do this next session)
    3. Set Long Term Goals
    4. Start the conversation process

    Worship Study 7

    This is the summary of our November discussion

    The theme is Hospitality as Inclusiveness

    XingLiang’s article focus on the inclusiveness to the elderly.  Firstly, it is to recognize that we all have the image of God.  We are baptized into one body.  Secondly, the elderly has much to offer in the giving of their history, the passing down of tradition and the sharing of their life experiences.  Thirdly, we have to be considerate to them.  We must think about what they can participate in.

    Possible ideas to implement:
    1. Adopt a grandparent –
    2. Visitations
    3. Home worship services
    4. Testimonies

    Wanling’s article is about making worship inter-generational.  Firstly, we must engage the kids while they are still young and interested.  Sermons can use references that is related to them.  Secondly, we must come to the realization that all ages can serve all ministry.  Thirdly, the service can be more visual.

    Possible ideas to implement
    1. Involve all ages in planning
    2. Puppets and Drama

    YouFen’s article is about making worship children friendly.  Firstly, it is on children sermon.  Liturgy should explain why we do what we do.  Secondly, each family should prepare themselves on saturday night.  Third is about children hymnals so that children can get use to reading hymnals.  Fourth is about spiritual parenting.  Fifth is about children prayer.

    Possible ideas for implementation
    1. Can we have a short combined service?  Perhaps CNY service?
    2. Discuss with children ministry on planning the children’s sat nights.

    Celeste followed on the same theme with her related article.  Firstly, it is about sermons that can engage all ages.  Secondly, Find ways to include children in liturgy.  Third, It is about educating the congregation.

    1. Give the kids a role in worship.  This idea was immediately implemented in the form of candle lighting acolytes in the Advent season.
    2. Scripture reading and skits
    3. Prayer

    Cathy’s article is on the role of Children choir.
    The article itself places great emphasis on the spiritual formation role of children choir.  However, Cathy feels that the role of a choir is different for different contexts.  We then discussed the role of children choir in the Jubilee context.  Siow Hwee explained how children choir is actually children worship education.

    Ideas from the article
    1. How to get the congregation to understand that it is worship and not a performance.
    “the choir director went home wondering, “How can I help people see the children’s choir as part of the worship, not a performance?”So the next month, the director asked to have his choir sing in place of the prayer. Before the song, a child stepped up to the mike and said, “Would you please join us in thought as we sing this prayer?””Just with that simple twist, the choir director reframed the choir’s role in worship,” Witvliet says.”

    Worship Study 6

    This month we will be focusing on Hospitality as Healing:

    Cathy: (Just this 3 pages, no need to click on the further links)
    PeiSong: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/miroslav-volf-religious-commitment-that-promotes-peace-not-violence/
    WeiZhen: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/music-and-worship-help-heal-northern-ireland/
    Celeste: http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/tod-bolsinger-on-worshiping-as-the-people-of-god/

    Worship Study 5

    Over the first half year, we have:
    1. Formed a core team to work on developing the Jubilee worship ministry through study and pragmatic execution.
    2. Set up the worship resource room.
    3. Developed a worship plan for the next year.
    4. Developed an evaluation system.
    5. Discussed on many related issues on worship planning, worship leading, worship reflection
    (I may have forgotten many others)

    Things in the pipeline include:
    1. To fully utilise the resource room.
    2. The development of Checklists
    3. To finetune (and implement) our evaluations

    This is the summary and action plan for September 2010 Worship Study on the 8th topic: Hospitality

    1. Siow Hwee: Hospitality as Peace and Justice: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/peace_justice.php (just this page) and the link in “Worship sustains our hope for peace and justice”

    We began with the focus on Hospitality as Peace and Justice for this month.  Hospitality goes beyond greeting new comers.  Hospitality is basically saying that everybody must feel welcomed into the worshiping community.  This is the essence of the gospel.  That everybody should not feel despair about God passing him by.  This is especially so for the marginalised.  Therefore, we must show hospitality because that is the good news.  Without hospitality, there is no gospel.  Without gospel, there is no church.  We begin with the focus on peace and justice because the good news must reach the marginalized that this gospel for for them too.

    2. Cathy: http://www.mennovision.org/Vol%203%20No%201/Pohl_Hospitality.pdf

    Cathy shared from Christine Pohl’s article.  It includes qualities of welcoming places, gestures and people.
    a. Places must be comfortable, celebrate life and encourage conversation.
    b. Welcoming gesture means giving full attention, remembering names and allowing guests to be gracious
    c. Welcoming hosts include simplistic lifestyle, being vulnerable, comfortable with suffering and being non pragmatic in approach.

    3. YouFen: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/4/2179_Marriage_Singleness_and_the_Christian_Virtue_of_Hospitality/

    Youfen shared on how people who are single and married can be hospitable to one another.
    a. Welcome others as Christ welcomes you.
    b. Include single people and married people in your events.

    4. Xin Liang: http://www.pbv.thunder-bay.on.ca/NetSermons/1pet4ser.html

    XingLiang shared about those who are gifted in hospitality.
    a. They focus on the needs of others first.
    b. They value community.

    5. WanLeng: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1985/503_Strategic_Hospitality/

    WanLeng shared on the why Hospitality is a necessity in our worship.  It is the desire and glory of God.  So when we truly experience God, we shared god to the outside world.
    Strategic hospitality include:
    a. Invite one another to our homes
    b. Greet and Welcome (after worship service!)
    c. International Students ministry

    Worship Study 4

    This is the summary of our discussion and action plans for May 2010
    1. Cathy: The Gracious Gift of Hospitality: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/leader/hospit.php
    Cathy shared with us the importance of hospitality in a church.  Hospitality is a virtues that will lead on to other virtues.  It is anticipating people with need who come into the community.  It is the creation of free space so that change and transformation may occur.  It is suspending judgment and reducing strangeness between people.

    Action plan:
    a. The importance is to realize that hospitality is not just for outsiders and also for the community itself.  Education therefore is key in promiting this awareness in the church congregation.  Xiaohui will lead the chairpersons of the services in making this community hospitality explicit within every Sunday service.
    b. Cathy will link up with Pastor NaiHwei in equipping our volunteers in the welcoming teams of both services.

    PeiSong: In Between Words of Worship Leaders: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/resources/inbetween/
    PeiSong highlighted to us the need for good planning for the in between words we use during a worship service.  There is always the danger of gaffe.

    Action Plan:
    a. We will do a video recording of one of our services, and do a critique of the in between words of that service.  Peisong can you plan for this?

    Celeste: Biblical Approach to Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/idis/theology/worship101.php
    Celeste spoke on what is worship.  It is praise, corporate and service.  Praise should reflect God’s glory, trinity.  Worship should also be Formative.  This means that we may not understand it fully, but it will form our theology over time.

    Action Plan:
    a. This education is done in every week’s liturgy but it needs to be way more explicit.  Xiaohui will ensure that proper equipping of the chairpersons in done so that they may do this education more explicitly.

    WeiZhen: Worship Music as Soul Food: http://www.reformedworship.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=1058
    WeiZhen continued our previous discussion on the Worship Diet in the January Worship Study.  The lesson from the philosophy that “you are what you sing” is that we need to discern what we want for our health.  Music has the ability to carry messages and convey moods and it is vital that we continue a good balance of what we provide our people.  This also includes an education element in getting our people well fed in music education.  Weizhen and Celeste will continue to monitor our music exposure and ensure that our congregation are well informed on the huge variety of Christian music.

    WanLing: Top Ten challenge of Worship Leaders: http://www.reformedworship.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=1239
    WanLing shared on the Top Ten challenges faced by the worship leaders in the article.  Overall sentiments is that the challenges of Jubilee is somewhat different.

    Action Plan:
    a. In view that all sub-ministries will be meeting up to discuss on the checklist to be done in our previous worship study, we will also include this in our subsequent meet-up.  Each sub comm should also take time to discuss what they think are their top challenges, and these will be shared in our next meeting in July.

    Worship Study 3

    This is the summary for April 2010
    Siow Hwee: Planning worship as Pastoral: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/leader/pastoral.php
    Siow Hwee shared on the model of a pastor for those serving in the worship ministry.  We often think of ourselves as a performer or coordinator or spiritual engineer.  But the model of a pastor allows us to discern our worship content, serve with a pastoral heart and with an infectious joy.

    Cathy: Crash Course in Leading Worship: http://www.reformedworship.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=1119
    Cathy shared on the idea of using cue cards as a reminder of what is important before we serve.  Our team decided that these cue cards would serve an important function like a checklist.  We can remind ourselves of certain key points when we perform and also spiritual things to remember.

    Xing Liang: Fresh and Authentic Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/wcom/emerging/fresh_worship.php and
    Both the articles tells us that to develop what is fresh and authentic, we need to have a close relationship with God.  Only then, we will learn fresh thing about God all the time and relate to God honestly.

    YouFen: Spiritual Preparation for Worship leaders: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/resources/docs/plantinga.php
    This is an interesting article because the emphasis is not on “what to do” to prepare ourselves.  Rather, a good spiritual preparation is a good and healthy theology of God.

    MinZhi: Healthy Tensions in Corporate Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/leader/kauflin_tensions.php
    Minzhi shared from the article the many tensions that must be balanced in a worship of a church.  The tensions include transcendence/ immanence, intellectual/ emotional, vertical/ horizontal, planned/ spontaneity, liturgical/ contemporary, excellence/ authenticity, individual/ corporate etc.  Our team debate on the merit of having a good balance in these tensions.

    Worship Study 2

    Summary for Worship Study Feb 2010

    The Followup from January Worship Study
    A copy of the guidelines on Presbyterian worship is distributed.  This will be the boundaries of our worship discussions and explorations as we collaborate in our worship planning together.
    Cathy distributed 7 models of worship evaluation.  We will be testing them out in the next few weeks and Siow Hwee will drafting one our based on the comments from email.

    PeiSong: In Search of Worship that is Reformed and Always Emerging: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/wcom/emerging/dgay_sympos07.php
    Celeste: The Emerging Church: http://www.reformedworship.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=1430

    Peisong and Celeste spoke about the history of the emerging churches.  General sentiments are that Jubilee has been emerging for some time, especially in the area of worship reform.  We spoke about the changes of Jubilee over the years and our overall consensus seems to be that we are on the right track and we must continue to forge ahead while keeping to our roots.  We also spoke about resistance to changes and how incremental changes make acceptance easier.
    WanLing: Blended Worship, Good for the Body: http://www.worshipsymposium.org/2008/man_a.html
    WanLing shared about the history of Blended Worship that began with the worship wars in the early days between traditional and contemporary.  This is another area whereby Jubilee is slightly spared from the conflict.  We try to look beyond the battlefronts, and we apply what is good from every generation.  It is about substance, not form.

    1. We seems to know what we want and what we are doing, so Jubilee is progressing well without too much conflict.  The next key step is education and getting everybody into the picture.  We will tentatively set 27th of March as the equipping day where everybody involved in worship ministry in one way or another will get together to learn about the plans for the next liturgical year.  All sub-ministry heads will be in charge of mobilisation.  Siow Hwee, Cathy and YouFen will be in charge of training.

    YuFen: The Role of Prayer in Public Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/planning/8_22_04.php
    YuFen first spoke about the different types of prayers in a liturgy.  Then on the different methods of prayer.  Lastly she spoke on some ideas of how to sing prayers and write prayers.

    1. This is an important part of the evaluations.  We will make sure that our prayers in the liturgy fulfill their roles within the liturgy.
    2. We should include children prayers, classic prayers and specially written prayers into our liturgy.  We can try this out when the children choir serves and when there is holy communion.

    WeiZhen: Drumming in Intergenerational Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/lit_arts/music/intergen_drumming.php
    Weizhen shared about the strengths of drumming, which brings equality in culture, gender and people with special needs.  She also shared some ideas of drumming with scripture reading and playing different cultural rhythms.

    1. For special readings: worth a try.

    Worship Study 1

    The worship study for January 2010 was a great success for a first trial.  Cathy, XinLiang, Minzhi and I presented our assignments.  These are my brief summary and action plan.

    I presented on the book “Designing Worship Together”.  Basically it is a book that chronicles what is worship planning over the decades and how it has evolved into a collaboration effort in recent times.  Worship planning has moved from the “just plug in hymns” mentality into a one united message for the entire service.  This calls for more co-laboring from every quarters.  This mass involvement will reduce the disconnect between worship planners and worshipers and it prevents burnout.   But more opinions being involved in the planning also entail more friction between personalities in the planning process.  This can be resolved more amicably with proper parameters for worship and maintaining love and respect for one another.

    The action plan for this is as follows:
    1. We will use the Presbyterian framework for worship as our basic parameters in worship planning.  A copy of this will be distributed in our next meeting.
    2. We have decided to start using this collaborative effort from the next liturgical year.  Meaning that it will start from end-November 2010 Advent season.  This means also that we must have a basic skeleton of the next liturgical year by June 2010 so that the rest of the worship ministry can collaborate in planning for all the services with worship songs, choir presentations, etc.
    3. Xiaohui will be in charge of getting the pastoral team to decide on the themes and events of the next liturgical year as soon as possible.
    4. We will also hold a worship planning education workshop somewhere in the March Holidays.

    Cathy presented on the Nuts and Bolts of worship planning.  This articles gathered all the wisdom of over 100 churches and condense them into ten “proverbs” for worship planners.  Of special importance are the following:
    1. Worship planning should begin with a scripture text and worship planners should involve in textual study.
    This is why the skeleton for the next liturgical year will be the first item that must be completed for the planning.
    2. Maintain a balanced song diet.
    We will do a song diet evaluation at the end of the planning so that we have a balanced distribution of song types throughout the year like contemplative, exuberant, simple or challenging.
    3. Adopt good models for organizing people and communication and carry tasks of supervision and evaluation
    Cathy will prepare a few evaluation models for us to choose from in the next meeting, and we will decide on the best way we can evaluate our weekly worship.

    Vincent (XinLiang) shared on the worship planners’ bookshelf.  That is how the Calvin’s Institute organize their worship resources.
    1. We have decided to use the Philippians room as our worship resource room.  We will gather all the worship resources that we currently have (except the online resource) and we will organize them properly in the Philippians room.  This includes the CDs, hymnals, books on worship, sermon recordings, scores, etc.
    2. We will do the first hardwork on this on the June worship study session.  all 10 members of the worship study group, together with all the PA guys and gals from both services will come together on a June Sat to get this first step done.
    3. Vincent will be the Resources I/C and he and his PA team will spend 1-2 years in turning the entire resource into a proper database for easy usage for every worship planner.

    MinZhi shared on the importance of visuals for worship.  A few food for thoughts.
    1. How can we let the congregation feel involved in the worship instead of merely a spectator when our planning (including visuals) become more and more complex?
    2. Will there be a false expectation for the fanciful if we always go for elaborate settings for the big occasions?
    3. Even if some members of the congregation feel that they have contributed artistically, it is still a personal, subjective expression unknown to others.  The question is: So what?

Equipping Archives