God is calling and UCC Medfield is answering the call. Your Board and Staff love being on this journey with you!
As we go, we will foster a healthy cycle of communication. We want to hear your experiences, receive your feedback, and set a clear vision for the direction of our church. Think of this page as a communication hub. The thoughts and blog posts below are an effort to listen and to offer observations.
some thoughts on worship:
I wonder why… some singers use microphones and some don’t?
When the amplified instruments are playing, the voices leading those songs wouldn’t be heard above the instruments without mics. In order to lead the congregation in singing, the voices need to be heard.
I wonder why… we don’t hear more organ in worship?
Adam Feldman, our accompanist, is a gifted, versatile musician whom we hired to play all the styles of music we want include in worship. Adam is taking organ lessons, and as he is becoming more comfortable, Heidi will play some piano behind the hymns to support him. We will, from time to time, be hiring an experienced organist to raise the roof!
I wonder why… the songs are chosen the way they are?
When Heidi selects music, she is primarily looking for music whose words best support the theme of our worship service, while being sensitive to reaching a congregation whose ages span generations and planning around our musicians’ schedules.
I wonder why… some songs are printed in the bulletin and some are only projected?
Heidi tries to put as much as makes sense into the bulletin. Contemporary worship songs are different from hymns in that the form is usually much longer and sometimes the melody is so rhythmic that it is very difficult to notate them in the bulletin. We’ve found that often the chorus works well in the bulletin, so we include that. When a song is not in the bulletin, it is certainly acceptable to listen to it the first time around and try to get some of it the second (or third or fourth) time around. This is how people learned the ancient worship songs of our faith!
I wonder why… even the familiar songs seem different?
We’ve heard some of you notice a difference in the hymns. We are changing the keys to make them easier to sing, so they do sound different. Also, as it takes time for our new organist to get comfortable with our organ, Heidi has been playing the piano at the same time, which creates a distinctive sound.
I wonder what… God thinks of our worship?
Are we a community of believers who puts praising God above all else when we come together, and showing our children and newcomers in our midst what it means to pour out praise with thankful hearts? We know we are!
I wonder if… we can have more periods of silence during worship?
This has been requested by a number of you and so we are actively working to incorporate more silence.
I wonder why… the pastors are sitting in the front pew and are no longer wearing robes?
These changes came out of last year’s listening conversations in which there was an expressed desire for a more casual environment for worship. The value of a more casual service is a national trend and one the Board believes is worth experimenting with.
I wonder why… both contemporary and traditional styles of worship are in our new service?
Some of you have asked that we balance the two in our worship, and our Worship Design Team seeks to use both when and where possible with a sensitivity to our multi-generational congregation. Worship styles and the types of music chosen each week are made based on several factors, including: the theme of that Sunday’s worship and the schedules of our musicians and singers.
i wonder what.... kyrie Eleison means?
Kyrie Eleison, from the Greek, “Lord have mercy” In the first century AD, Greek was the universal language. It had been spread by Alexander the Great's empire, and was retained as the Roman Empire grew and expanded. While Latin existed, Greek was the everyday language of anyone wishing to communicate with those who were foreigners, not unlike English is today. Thus, when the first liturgies were being composed through oral tradition by the Apostles and their successors, these were conducted in Greek.
By the beginning of the 3rd century, Latin began to take over as the everyday language in the Roman Empire. The switch was relatively complete in the west by the middle of the 4th century, and thus the Mass as it was celebrated in Rome and in the western Church utilized Latin as its official language- a fact that still holds true today. In the East, however, Greek was retained.
The Kyrie as a liturgical text existed in Eastern liturgies as early as the 2nd century. Toward the end of the 5th century, it was adopted into Western liturgies. Because it was adopted from the East so late, the Greek Kyrie eleison was retained, as opposed to being translated into the Latin (Domine, miserere nobis).
What the Kyrie presents to us is a window into the history of the development of liturgical worship. It reminds us that throughout the course of two millennia, the act of worship has grown and developed in a variety of ways, just as cultures continue to develop and change. It makes us aware that over the centuries, we have been handed down a treasure-trove of rich prayers and actions that present to us a vision of the Church that is wider and deeper than we could ever imagine, and that draw us closer to the earliest Christians, who daily pronounced with passion and devotion those powerful words: Kyrie eleison.
When we sing these words, may we connect with the people of God in all times and places as we praise the same merciful and loving God who was, and is, and is to come.
-Adapted from an article written 09 July 2017 by The Rev. James R. DeViese, Jr, Pastor of Saint Patrick Church in Weston, WV.
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