For a mid-sized city with a thriving downtown arts scene, the annual Celebration of the Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, may seem like just one more art show on a busy cultural calendar. But art lovers are often taken aback when they learn who’s behind this event. The Celebration is entirely hosted, promoted, and run by a church—First United Methodist Church, a Gothic church building on Fulton Street in the heart of the city.
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- Daybreak Community Church, Valparaiso, Indiana
Even here, people come for a church service,” says Pastor Rob Knol, standing at the back of the gym of the Boys and Girls Club in Valparaiso, Indiana, where Daybreak Community Church has just completed its worship service.
- A Conversation with Albert Aymer, Nancy Beach, Brian McLaren, Eugene Peterson, Larry Sibley, John Witvliet, Joyce Zimmerman
A colleague was asked point-blank at a workshop recently, “Have changes in worship in the last generation been good or bad?”
The short answer may be yes.
A longer answer was given at a day-long seminar at the Calvin Symposium on Worship 2006. The seminar featured a panel of prominent worship leaders who had probably never been together in the same room before. They reflected in very different ways on one of the central topics in twentieth-century North American religion: changes in worship practices.
Planning worship for a special church celebration calls for a tricky blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary. On the one hand, you want the occasion to feel special and festive, to involve former members and special presenters. On the other hand, you want worship to represent your church’s regular worship life—which is what you’re celebrating in the first place.
What would President Benjamin Harrison have thought of an accordion and a mandolin playing during worship in his church? The former U.S. president probably wasn’t expecting that when he helped plan a new building for First Presbyterian Church in his hometown of Indianapolis, down the street from the house where he used to give campaign speeches on his front porch.
Kristy Ruthven has two titles at Princeton Christian Reformed Church: youth director and director of worship and music. In the eyes of Ruthven and her congregation, the two jobs are integrally linked. Princeton worships with a vision for intergenerational unity, and the task of reaching out to youth cannot be separated from the practice of worship.