Over the past months, I’ve been delighted to work with The Rev. Ashley Goff and the congregation of Arlington Presbyterian Church in Arlington, VA. Over several years, this remarkable faith community discerned they were called to respond to the needs of their neighbors through a thoughtful listening campaign. They made a bold decision to demolish their building and partner with a developer who would build affordable housing on the former site of the church.Read More
I’m convinced singing has a role to play in the moral and political struggles of this moment but it has been notably absent at protests and marches I’ve participated in over the past three years. What can we do? What is already being done? How might music enliven and sustain today’s movement and help us ‘sing a new world into being,’ as hymn writer Mary Louise Bringle invites?
Learning spaces are challenging spaces. To gain a new skill requires humility and resilience, flexibility and fortitude. When we come up against our limitations, it can bruise the ego and cause us to doubt our ability or value. But what I’ve experienced through Music That Makes Community is that learning can be a joyful, enlivening, liberating experience. While we can never ease the discomfort that comes from learning a new skill or the jitters before sharing a new song, it is empowering to name our fears, to befriend them, and look for the surprising lessons and gifts these uncomfortable spaces offer to us.Read More
Is it a creeping tension in your neck and back? Perhaps you're finding it hard to focus or can't quiet your thoughts? Maybe your stomach is upset, your head aches, your teeth are clenched? Maybe you find yourself hyper-vigilant or distrustful of others in public spaces? You are feeling the subtle and insidious presence of anxiety, which seems to affect us all in these difficult days.
While I don't have a quick fix to our collective unsettledness or the anxiety that ebbs and flows, I have noticed that singing settles us. Perhaps one of the ways we can defuse anxiety and diffuse peacefulness is through song, specifically songs that remind us who we are and whose we are.
Invitation means opening the door of our churches, of our choir rooms, and organ lofts so others can tentatively, confidently, or curiously step through. It requires a willingness to put our agendas aside and meet people where they're at. It's more than a handshake with a guest or visitor but instead taking time to know them and to affirm that their presence really matters to us. Invitation includes the possibility of carving out new spaces for others' gifts and talents, rather than assuming they will fit neatly into existing structures or schedules. Invitation is doing the hard work of opening our lives and hearts to all those God might bring to us, not just when it's convenient.Read More