Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting Ready for Fall

I am busy organizing and preparing for the fall start up of our program year at Small Church. Here are some of the things I am doing:

Revisioning our music ministry. We are going to begin to chant (again) the Psalms. I have found some sources that teach individuals and congregations how to do this using simple tones. ("Chanting the Psalms" by Cynthia Bourgeault, the book comes with a CD of her chanting). The idea is that we can move away from a monotone verbal recitation of the Psalms into a sung prayer. We are a small congregation but I am convinced we can sinng more and sing better if I just find the sources that will fit our ability. Generally speaking it isn't hymns from the 1982 Hymnal. On a good Sunday we have three people singing in our choir, many Sundays no one. Again this is because we are small and our parishioners travel for their jobs. I think we should, at the very least, have a cantor assigned for each Sunday who is prepared to assist the conregational singing. This Cantor could also add some variety to how we sing, like singing Canons in the round or having the Cantor sing one verse, the congregation another. The Cantor can also help me teach the congregation new hymns so we expand what we know.

I am also looking at having a group of parishioners participate in the "This I Believe" essay writing process. I first heard of this through grace-thing's blog. She posted her essay and it got me intrigued. You can learn more here. The biggest problem is wondering who to ask, who would actually come through with an essay. I'm working on that one. I'd like to publish them in our monthly newsletter.

As we prepare for our "Celebration Sunday" on Oct. 28 I have asked three parishioners to preach, one on each of the three Sunday's in Oct. leading up to Celebration Sunday. This is the day we celebrate all the ministries in the parish and turn in our pledge cards for the upcoming year. I've asked them to preach on "Why I come to small church." I'm giving them guidelines and help along the way.

The point of all of this is to encourage more involvement from the congregation in the worship life of the parish.

The problem is, I am a solo pastor. I get easily distracted by the varieties of daily parish life. It seems really challenging for me to follow through. I can initiate great ideas, I depend on others to follow through and that does not always happen. I think I have taken on three ambitious projects for the year. I hope I can get the initiative going well enough that those who are participating will then take over and help it get lived int. By this I mean, the members of the choir take over helping me find hymns and plan music for each Sunday. The people who've agreed to write and preach the sermons come up with something heart felt. And I get some folks to write a few essays.

We'll see how it goes.

12 comments:

Songbird said...

I love your ideas, mompriest. I hope you'll keep us posted on how it goes.

mompriest said...

Thanks SB. I imagine I'll post on them, hopefully not ranting (hee hee) at either myself or others!

Jan said...

You have so many ideas, which impresses me with you being the only priest and a mother and a wife. . . God certainly inspires you! As Songbird writes, keep us posted.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

beautiful ideas... (i can relate in several said areas.) i hope your big meeting tonight goes well - and hope God fills you up so you keep drawing out the vision of ministry there throughout the fall season!

mompriest said...

Thanks jan and hotcup. I have 8 people coming plus me, so that's hopeful.

Diane said...

yes, I also like your ideas...and can relate to being distracted (even in a larger parish...) I think we need a support group, to help us. I really like the idea of having a cantor, learning to chant, and doing some of the "this I believe" articles.

and yes, I hope the meeting gives energy and helps you share the load.

RevDrKate said...

I love the "This I Believe" idea! We do it at clergy conference and it's SO powerful hearing people's statements in their own voices. Also like the cantor idea. Cool ideas and energy in general.... Spirit's got your back on this too!

mompriest said...

diane and revdrkate, I hope so...

Serena said...

I agree ... wonderful ideas, and Rev Dr K's right, Spirit's got your back. I too look forward to hearing reports.

Sally said...

wow that all seems like a lot of work- I do hope this all goes well for you!
Praying for peace and blessings for your journey.
Sally

Grace thing said...

I love "Spirit's got your back." Needed to be reminded of that, so thanks to RevDrKate and Serena. Mompriest: You inspire me. And on the music front, I've always found that hymns from the Methodists are a good blend of what you're looking for. Whenever I sing them, they make me want to be a Methodist!

mompriest said...

thanks grace-thing. I will check out Methodist resources. They are an impressive denomination in many ways - lots of creative liturgical support it seems to me. So, I'm heading over to Revabi to ask for her suggestions...

I will with God's help....uncomplicating the complicated

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