More on Paying the Piper
I hoped in the article "Paying the Piper" that you might also address the very basic and sensitive issue which I believe many churches are still dealing with :
"WHY pay the musicians?"
Could you please deal with this basic question? Is the money for music or for time rendered? Why not pay the Cadet leaders, Sunday School teachers, or elders and deacons? They all put in a lot of time for the church too! where does one draw the line? Many people give plenty of time to the church, and never get a cent…etc! If the "professionally trained" argument is used, what about that organist who obviously is not? In our congregation, as well as others, someone brings these old, moldy questions up whenever a raise is proposed—sometimes in the congregational meeting, much to my embarrassment. There is never an adequate (or any) answer given, because many people are wondering the same thing!
Keep up the great work on Reformed Worship. Our church receives multiple copies, and I devour mine immediately. I eagerly anticipate your response to this letter.
We must continue to lay before our communities the Cal-vinistic concept of culture (as described, for instance in Kuyper's Lectures in Calvinism and Schilder's Christ and Culture).
The denomination should set a suggested remuneration schedule for musicians, just as we have for ministers. It is difficult for individual musicians at the local congregational level to present a case on their own behalf without being misunderstood and misinterpreted.
For the reasons listed below, we must lead consistories/congregations to understand and appreciate the injustice of bypassing the remuneration of organists:
■The training period for organists is lengthy and expensive.
■Organists develop a skill solely intended for service to the church which (unlike typing, accounting, carpentry) is not transferable to other occupations .
■ Many organists have invested large personal financial overhead in music and home instruments.
■Serious organists maintain a disciplined and vigorous study and practice schedule.
■Many congregations budget generously for other regular expenditures and services.
■The talent of the musicians should be viewed no differently than the talent of the building contractor, the carpenter, or the electrician. All require time and effort to develop and deploy. Yet no one would expect carpenters and electricians to "donate" materials and services week after week, year after year.
More Liturgies, Litanies
I have found RW to be a good resource, filled with many good articles and suggestions. But I have a few suggestions for improvement. First, I would appreciate more full liturgies for special occasions. Since I am a fairly new pastor, I enjoy easily gained resources. As yet, I do not have a lot of time to be creative, and so I appreciate it when I find something that has been done for me. Second, in the same vein, I would appreciate more litanies, especially collections of litanies that deal with one aspect of the worship)—e.g., calls to worship, confessions, or guides for grateful living.
Prairie View, Kansas
I enjoyed the Conference on Liturgy and Music at Calvin College [Grand Rapids, Michigan]. It was planned and "executed" very well. As a matter of fact, I did not hear one negative comment concerning it at all. As we all know and were reminded at the conference, "It isn't that way back home." But the excitement still lingers. Do you know if tapes of some of the sessions are still available?
I also enjoy RW and feel it has a very important role in the collective field of Christian worship. Keep up the good work! We appreciate it.
Tapes of the July conference are still available from the Music Department, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.
Thanks for Permission!
I continue to enjoy RW, including that (im)modest proposal [RW 9]. And just when we decided to have communion this Christmas comes Dan Meeters article giving us "permission"!
Merwin Van Doornik
Small Churches Too
RW 9 recently arrived, and, as usual, I laid aside many other things and read most of it within two days. This happens with no other magazine to which I sus-cribe—not even my own denominational publication. You manage every quarter to provide much of direct personal interest, as well as more general matter. Unfortunately, too much is geared to the large congregation with ample music resources, but we adapt where we can. (A hymn-concertato is out of the question in a church that has a nine-person choir and no instrumentalists.) Your service-planning guides are very useful.
May the Lord enable you to keep up the good work. You are producing a most useful magazine.
Thanks so much for RW! We've been without a pastor for ten months now and RW has been a great source of inspiration and ideas for our worship services. Keep up the good work!