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June 2002

Book: How to Play Djembe: West African Rhythms for Beginners

Alan Dworsky and Betsy Sansby. Minnetonka, Minn.: Dancing Hands Music, 2000. $24.95. Reviewed by Ron Rienstra.

How to...Commission Visual Art

Why commission a work of art?

The purpose of liturgical art is to point beyond itself, to deepen one’s understanding and worship of God. A congregation might commission a work of art

Stewarding Our Talents, Renewing Our Worship

Once a year, each academic department at Westmont College is invited to host a chapel for the majors and minors in their department. Here in the art department, we’ve used this opportunity to present our “artistic testimonies,” to discuss what might constitute Christian art, and to use works of art from the past as foci for devotional exercises. This year, we’ve decided to ask students to read one of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom, the parable of the talents from Matthew 25.

Book: The Arts in Your Church

Fiona Bond. Carlisle, England: Piquant, 2001. $15.00. www.piquant.net; info@piquant.net

William Dyrness (see p. 8) commends this new book as “the best practical guide I know” to encouraging the artists in our congregations, also helping some to discover gifts they did not know they had. The mission of this publisher from England is “to spread in every place the aroma that comes from knowing Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14).

RW Visual Arts Awards

Once a year, each academic department at Westmont College is invited to host a chapel for the majors and minors in their department. Here in the art department, we’ve used this opportunity to present our “artistic testimonies,” to discuss what might constitute Christian art, and to use works of art from the past as foci for devotional exercises. This year, we’ve decided to ask students to read one of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom, the parable of the talents from Matthew 25.

Book: Visual Faith: Art Theology, and Worship in Dialogue

William A. Dyrness. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001. 188 pp. $21.99.

The editorial on p. 2 provides a good introduction to this book. Here is one more testimony, from Jeremy Begbie of Cambridge University in England: “Both theological and practical, this wide-ranging study will be of special interest to all who want to get beyond the sterile prejudices that have so often marred the relationship between visual art and Protestantism.”

Open Our Eyes: A glimpse of the way churches are transforming worship spaces

We seem to be in the midst of a sea change in attitudes toward the visual, even in worship. For one thing, since the middle of the last century, a major change has been taking place in our visual environment. Whereas previously print culture predominated, with the rise of television and movies we have entered an era in which visual images are dominant and inescapable.

Book: Worship Without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Times

Patricia S. Klein. Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2000. 208 pp. $12.95.

Clip Art, Banner Designs, Books, and More: A review of what's available

As interest in the visual arts continues to increase, so do helpful publications. Some of the most helpful resources come from Lutheran and Roman Catholic sources. All of these items are available from the following publishers:

Book: Imaging the Word: An Arts and Lectionary Resource

3 vols. Kenneth T. Lawrence, ed. Cleveland, Ohio: United Church Press, 1994. c. 280 pp. $34.95 each.

These beautiful books would make wonderful gifts for any worship planner who will take the time to revel in the relationship between Scripture and culture as depicted in both historical and contemporary art. Based on the texts assigned in the Revised Common Lectionary, each volume (for Years A, B, and C) walks through the church year with a wealth of full-color art and photos from around the world, meditative writings, even music.

Inspiration, Illustration, and Integration: Resources on the web for the visual artist

The weekly head-scratching exercise (“Well, what do we do this Sunday?”) is well-known to preachers, liturgists, dramatists, and musicians. Visual artists, on the other hand, contribute to worship less regularly. That is to say, while congregations enjoy artwork week in and week out, the work of producing that art—a new banner for a new season, a new baptismal font, ceramic pieces thrown for a new communion set—happens, at least for the traditional visual artist, more periodically.

Book: Postmodern Worship and the Arts

Doug Adams and Michael Moynahan, eds. San Jose, Calif.: Resource Publications, Inc, 2002. 184 pp. $49.95. ISBN 0-89390-546-1.

Rearranging the Furniture: The changing face of worship space

When we build, let us think that we build forever.” Nineteenth-century critic James Ruskin’s comment certainly doesn’t qualify as the watchword for today’s church architecture. These days, it might be more appropriate to think in terms of a decade.

Book: Learning for Life: Christian Education and the Practice of Faith

Office for Education and Faith Development, Reformed Church in America, 2001. Three-ring binder. $49.95.

Growing in Grace: A four-week series to get your church education plans off to a great start, page 1 of 2

Another September rolls around. If you’re a typical worship and liturgy planner, you’re probably thinking, “We really ought to highlight the beginning of another season of education.” On the heels of that thought comes another: “We need to commission our education leaders. Where do we find a liturgy for that?” You might rummage through your files, hoping to cobble something together. And that may be the end of it, at least until next September.

Notes

New Deadline for Next Worship Renewal Grants Applications

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship awarded sixty-one grants, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, to a wide range of churches and other institutions this year. The Institute recently received additional funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. that will continue the Worship Renewal Grant Program until 2006.

Make Your Way to the Potter's House: A service in word and clay based on Jeremiah 18:1-4

This liturgy was formed around the words of Jeremiah 18. Because it depended upon the visual image of a potter throwing a pot during the service, which complemented the spoken Word of God, it was different from any liturgy we’d used before. We purposely limited congregational participation so that the people could more easily listen and watch.

Artful Projection

After returning from church a couple of weeks ago, I announced to my wife, "We will never cut another piece of felt for a banner again!" No, it wasn't my final run-in with the flower committee. I had just seen a demonstration of our new three-times-as-bright-as-the-old-one video projector! My wife was not impressed. "People don't want to look at that, they want something real," she said, in the tone I've come to expect whenever I'm on a technology rant.

Lifelong Learning: A service celebrating the educational and discipling ministry of the church

This service, with multiple options, is intended as a celebration of what God is doing in the educational and discipling ministry of the church. It can be used at any time during the church year, not just when kicking off your education program. It concentrates on the lives of young people and especially encourages their participation—for which advance preparation (especially musical) may be helpful. Consider using young people as leaders throughout the service in every appropriate way and at every appropriate place.

Growing in Grace: A four-week series to get your church education plans off to a great start, page 2 of 2

Commisioning Service for Week Two



Gathering Songs
“As We Gather” SNC 245
“The Steadfast Love” SNC 242



Call to Worship: Psalm 24



Greeting



Response: “We Bow Down” SNC 42



Calendar for the Church Year

Advent

Advent is a time of preparation, beginning with the Sunday nearest November 30. On the four Sundays of Advent, the church both looks forward to celebrating the birth of Christ and prepares for the return of Christ. The liturgical color is purple or dark blue.

Christmas

Christmas is the festival of the birth of Christ, the incarnation. The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas Eve and end on the celebration of the Epiphany (January 6). The liturgical colors are white and gold.

Songs Celebrating the Arts

When considering the visual arts theme of this issue, I contacted Carl Daw—hymn writer, executive director of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and a good friend—to seek recommendations for hymn texts that deal with the creative process. He responded with several helpful suggestions. Each of the four songs presented here is a fresh offering by living authors and composers. They bring both prayer and praise to God. The first two acknowledge God as the great Creator; the second two speak of the various artists in our midst.

All Saints, All Times, All Places: Remembering heroes of the faith

This service was developed for All Saints’ Day (November 1) or the Sunday evening closest to it. Through the use of majestic music sung by congregation and choir, responsive readings based on Scripture passages and themes, and meditations on martyrs and saints who spread Christianity throughout the centuries, All Saints’ Day can be celebrated in a fresh, festive way.

On Art with Words, Lectionary Logic, and "The Heart of Worship"

Q. In our last worship committee, we had a long discussion about whether banners should or shouldn’t feature words. What are the issues here?

The IBM Jesus: What would Jesus wear?

If the truth be known, Pastor Tim had majored in art as a college sophomore. He’d dropped it after a spring break mission trip to Honduras, enthused instead by the idea of preaching the gospel because, for the first time in his life, he’d seen real need. Art, he’d come to think, was at best a leisure-time activity—like sports, something people with money and time could indulge in. He was pretty sure it didn’t have a place on the front lines of the Kingdom.

A Stone in Zion: Bringing a scriptural image to life in worship

1/7 Pre-planning

Brian just called with his text and theme for this Sunday’s LOFT. Matt. 6:33—“First Things First.”