When we gather for worship, the sanctuary is filled with the sound of human voices - songs of praise, the spoken words of scripture and prayers, glorious anthems and "Little children, come unto me..." Then there are the sounds of organ and piano, of handbells and guitars and brass and more. Worship has a rich texture of sounds.
After 36 years "on the bench," our Organist and Director of Music Ministries, Julia Callaway will retire in the fall. Sunday to Sunday, year after year, she has played the organ and the piano, accompanied the choir and many soloists, selected hymns and musical offerings, introduced new songs and orchestrated the flow of every service. Julia has given 36 years of her professional life to the glory of God and the worship life of God's people at Vine Street, 36 years of beautiful, creative worship sounds. And while we are making plans for retirement parties and celebration concerts, we must also talk about the next chapter in Vine Street's ministry of music.
Over the next few weeks we will get together in groups of various sizes to talk about worship sounds and what kind of music leadership we will need. Our leaders want to hear from all of us so they can develop staffing scenarios that are in tune with our vision for the future.
We ask all our members and friends to participate in a triplet and/or attend a listening group. The triplets are groups of three that meet five times (between March 10 and April 15) to talk about songs, instruments, worship, and related things. All you have to do is sign up, and we'll let you know who your triplet buddies are. The triplets schedule their own sessions, and they are free to talk about a wide range of issues. We will provide a set of guiding questions/statements for each session, and each triplet will appoint a scribe to report important findings.
The listening groups are three open, facilitated sessions, each following the same agenda (so it's OK to attend just one, but it's also great to attend more of them: with different people in the room, the dynamics will be very different in each case). The agenda of the listening groups is a very condensed version of the topics the triplets will discuss. This may sound pretty confusing at first glance, but it's actually a pretty flexible process:
- You may not be able to commit to meeting with a triplet five times; but you can fit one listening group in your busy schedule.
- You love the triplet idea, because you enjoy talking about these things in depth, and you know it's a great opportunity to get to know two other members of the church. You also want to attend at least one of the listening groups, because you're curious about what other people have to say.
- You enjoy the energy in the room when a larger group of people talk about things they are passionate about. You make sure you have all three listening groups on your calendar.
The point is, each of these combinations (and any other combination you can dream up) works; what we are aiming for is to give all our members and friends an opportunity to participate in this important conversation about leadership in music ministry. The only rule: when you make a commitment to a triplet, you commit to make every effort to participate in all sessions (that's why each triplet gets to schedule their sessions independently).
- The triplets meet five times between March 10 and April 15
- The open listening groups meet at the church on Wednesdays, March 14 and March 21 at 6:30pm, and on Sunday, April 15, for lunch after the 10:45am worship service.
To make room for sharing music and comments outside of these meetings, we created a page on Facebook. Check it out, and feel free to post your own favorite worship songs and listen to what others have posted.
This turned into a much longer post than I expected, but I don't want to end it without encouraging you to sign up for one of the triplets; please complete and submit this form, and you will soon hear back from us. Thank you!