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Light One Candle...: Examining the role of ritual and symbol in worship

The worship committee has a fine idea. Several other churches in the area have used an Advent wreath for years, and the committee thinks it's about time that John Knox Church does so as well. They construct the wreath, purchase candles in appropriate liturgical colors, and invite a family to read the Scripture and light the candle on the first Sunday of Advent.

Rethinking a Reformed Reluctance: A call for the church to reclaim the funeral as a worship service

I am writing these words on the first anniversary of my father's death. Before he died, he suffered for nearly three months with bowel cancer. He had a tumor removed a year earlier, but the cancer reappeared. He was eighty-two, and he did not want further surgery; he was eager to go home to be with his Lord.

Thinking About the Seeker Service

I'm in trouble when it comes to the seeker service. Not with anyone else, but with myself. I usually evaluate a new idea in light of some basic convictions I hold to, and then come to some conclusions. But when I evaluate the seeker service in light of such convictions, I come out both for it and against it.

Coping With the Organist Shortage: How about accompaniment tracks?

How many members of your congregation are taking organ lessons? How many have pianos in their homes? Probably far fewer than a generation ago. Some congregations are getting desperate to find competent organists.

If the trend continues, we could consider going back to unaccompanied singing, typical of the early days of the Protestant Reformation. It's likely, though, that few congregations would have much success with acapel-la singing. Our culture is simply not a singing culture.