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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MissionThe 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
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
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.
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.