I'm pleased to share a recent article from the Presbyterian Mission Agency focusing on music for this year's Big Tent gathering in St. Louis. It's been a joy to help plan music for a national event of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and I look forward to sharing worship leadership with a wonderful talented, diverse group of musicians this July!Read More
Join me for a weekend residency in Cincinnati, Ohio from May 20-22. We'll SING sacred music from diverse cultures and traditions, EXPLORE leadership practices that encourage and animate congregational singing, and REFLECT on ways that worship can be life-giving, inclusive, and prophetic.Read More
Interim/transitional music ministry and consulting is Easter work. And by ‘Easter’ I don’t mean the focus is solely on success, positive change, or growth. While some might offer churches a quick path to transformation or Seven Easy Steps to Worship Renewal, experience is showing me that healthy congregational processes require an encounter with loss and death.
Cycles of renewal and rebirth are visible all around us should we open our eyes to them. Like the Easter carol proclaims, grain rises out of wintery soil; the rich humus of what has died is a seedbed for new life. Perhaps we intuitively know that the church (the literal Body of Christ) will experience transition, metamorphosis, and even death. But we do not always live as Easter people and even resist what is inevitable, even as we praise the One who died and lives again.Read More
Music-making, especially singing within a spiritual community, is soul food. It shapes and integrates our experience and understanding of the Holy. It gives voice to our heartfelt praise and prayer. It connects us to other voices and bodies around us. It moves energy within a worship space. It engages our whole being - body, mind, breath, spirit. Words and tunes continue to sing in us even when we are not fully conscious of them.
But as I work with congregations around the country, I frequently see that the formative, generative, and enlivening potential of music is unrecognized or diminished. While congregations might be able to articulate a theology of worship (why they sing), their musical practices (how they sing) can be disconnected from, contradict, or subvert, their theology.Read More
"Anytime life ousts us from our places of security,
we are called upon to bring ourselves fully present to our experience."
– John Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within
The past year has provided many invitations to practice how to be fully present in the midst of change. A little over a year ago I imagined I was leaving full-time music ministry to embark on a new vocation in the non-profit world. I said goodbye to Park Avenue Christian Church and dove into a new position at the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, assisting two of the most seasoned and dedicated individuals in the classical music business. The experience was invaluable and I am grateful for the way it has shaped me as a person and as a leader.
But rather than feel my interest in the church wane, time away reminded me of what I missed. Weekends off and time with family during the holidays were a gift, something I hadn’t experienced in almost 20 years. But as colleagues and friends invited me to offer leadership in their congregations as a guest organist, choir director or song leader, my heart continued to tell me that my deepest calling is to ministry.Read More