There is no "Hymn of the Month" in this issue. Instead, we present the results of the first hymn competition held by Reformed Worship. In RW 29 (September, 1993) we announced that a number of churches in Edmonton, Alberta, had collected funds to underwrite a competition. Joachim Segger, director of music at West End Christian Reformed Church, wrote:
Articles in this issue:
Character 1 (Nehemiah)
Approximately 8 minutes
This reader's theater piece is conceived for a variety of settings. The style, however, is always presentational: in other words, the action is projected out to the audience.
The sign in front of most of our churches says, "All Are Welcome." But is our worship really as welcoming as it could be? Two fairly recent (though unrelated) incidents have me wondering.
The first of these events took place a few years ago when I was just beginning a pastorate in a small town. On the edge of town was a state facility for developmentally disabled persons. Periodically, area mainline churches took turns hosting residents from the facility who were interested in attending worship.
The 930 a.m. service has ended, and the organist slips off the organ bench with her Handel and Bach pieces. Downstairs, the choir members are hanging up their robes. The director congratulates them on having sung a difficult arrangement of "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty." A few members come back up to the sanctuary and begin setting up for the 11:OO service.
Romy Geerlings put his feet up on the hassock and picked up the remote before he said a word about what Rosalee had just told him, quite casually, a moment before. He took an audible breath, meant itself as a reply, and then asked simply, no spin at all, "Church tonight?"
"Ascension Day," she said, her back to him, piling the newspapers and magazines on the shelf beside the TV. It was unlike her to say it that way, as if it were a mandate.
Casual in attire and casual about the time, they enter the old, two-story frame house on Indianapolis's near north side. They are at home here, and help themselves to coffee or iced tea. A mother tries to settle her small children over coloring books at the kitchen table; two guitarists confer and tune their instruments; others enter and begin animated conversations punctuated by loud laughter. But there's an absence of small talk. Almost apologetically, the host herds the ten adults into the living room.
I read, quite sympathetically, your editorial in Reformed Worship 34 (December, 1994) this week—sympathetically because I know the heart that created it longs to be gracious and inclusive, not to hurt. There is nothing unrighteous about such goals.
Seasonal Liturgy Idea Was Helptul
We have used this magazine for some years now, and the blocks of services, e.g., Lent & Easter, or Advent, have been used extensively.
Not having a pastor of our own has made this manual invaluable to us. We are able to plan blocks of services two months ahead. By providing our guest ministers with the basic services and themes well in advance, we have not had a sermon plunked in a service without each relating to the other. The cooperation from our guest ministers has been marvelous.