I want to thank you for the series on the book of Job. I had been asked a few years back to preach on Job. As I am nearing the end of my time in the church here in Saskatoon, my thoughts went back to that request. Then I opened up the December issue of Reformed Worship to find this series. It was a Godsend in so many different ways! Thank you for your good words in the sermon notes. They have been helpful in shaping some of what I’ve preached on. I am thankful for the timely and instructive material that you have brought to so many pastors.
Pastor Richard Bodini
Bethel Christian Reformed Church
Faith Presbyterian Church was very grateful to Reformed Worship, as we really loved the visual arts ideas included in [RW 93]. Our congregation made a couple hundred stars and they adorned our sanctuary and lounge area. We have eight chandeliers, all of which were strung with the stars made with everything from foil Christmas paper to newspaper ads.
We also created a beautiful community banner that was inspired by “Come and See” (RW 89) and Mary Winters’ article (RW 93). We used potatoes with star shapes cut out of them. The “potato print” banner, as we referred to it, was made by young and old alike during our Advent Festival.
We handed out “Star Gifts” (RW 93) on Epiphany Sunday. They were made from scrapbooking paper, so they really sparkled and will last through the year as the congregation members ponder their gifts from God.
Thank you for your inspirational ideas in the article. They helped to make our church a very special place during Advent and Christmas, and brought the congregation together with common projects. We had a great time, too.
Robin H. Nemser
Chairperson of the Worship and Arts Committee
Faith Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Birth of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
More than 1,000 delegates and visitors will gather from around the world June 18-28, 2010 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan to celebrate the planned merger of the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC, www.recweb.org) and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC, www.warc.ch). Together these two bodies represent more than 80 million Christians worldwide. A Uniting General Council has been working toward the birth of the new body, to be called the World Communion of Reformed Churches (www.reformedchurches.org).
The theme of this assembly is “Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace,” from Ephesians 4. Under this theme, delegates will consider God’s call to both communion and justice as they gather and study . . . and sing!
An international song search on the theme of the assembly resulted in responses from Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, and the United States. Four songs were selected by an international committee; they are posted on the WCRC website in English, French, German, and Spanish. You are encouraged to download these songs for use in your congregation, knowing that you’ll be singing these songs with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
First place was given to the song “Bonds of Peace Will Keep Us in Your Unity,” by sisters Linda (Price) Draper and Barbara Price-Martin of the United States. Barbara Price-Martin is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) serving a parish in Wilmington, Delaware. Linda (Price) Draper is a retired teacher who owns an online engraving company. The sisters, who live 400 miles (644 km) apart, collaborate by phone and email to create their popular compositions.
Three songs received honorable mention: “Unidos en Espiritu” by Horacio Vivares, a composer and teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina; “Unity of the Spirit” by Barbara Boertje, minister of music at First Reformed Church, Grandville, Michigan; and “We Are People on a Journey” by Gregg DeMey, teaching pastor at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, Elmhurst, Illinois.
Delegates will be worshiping daily during the assembly; the public is invited to Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena for a festive communion service on Sunday, June 20, at 4:00 p.m.
The Psalm Project
A Dutch group has been working on a project to contextualize the singing of psalms to contemporary culture, rooting their musical arrangements in the melodies of the Genevan Psalter. “The Psalm Project” has produced an excellent CD in Dutch, and plans are in place to record some psalms in English as well. For more information and to listen to some samples, see www.thepsalmproject.nl (click on “translate” to read text in English).