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September 1991

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.

Video: Bell Basics: A Program of Instruction for the Beginning Handbell Director and Ringer

Susan M. Berry & David L. Week. Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Company. 40 min., $49.95.

Video: Sing and Rejoice...Guiding Young Singers

Helen Kemp. St. Louis: Concordia. 85 minutes, VHS 87-0231, $39.95.

Mrs. Helen Kemp, well known for her work with children, demonstrates in a most enthusiastic way on this video a variety of methods that can be used in children's choir rehearsals. Through a pre-worship rehearsal with a children's choir, Kemp exhibits ways of helping children develop good singing habits and encouraging children to express the joy of music and convey the message of the gospel through their music.

Video: The Christian Year Video

Cathedral Films, $49.50; rental 20.00 (1-800-251-4091).

Six ten-minute segments introduce the origins, themes, and personal significance of the Christian Year. These segments (Overview, Advent, Christmas/Epiphany, Lent and Holy Week, Easter, Ordinary Time) could be viewed together, but probably would be more effective one at a time. While the format is simpleóessentially a film-strip on video—each segment portrays much liturgical art and symbolism. The approach is interdenominational.

Pioneer of Reformed worship: celebrating the 500th anniversary of Martin Bucer

I have particularly copied Bucer, that man of holy memory, outstanding doctor in the church of God.

—John Calvin

Video: Sing and Rejoice: Help for Hymn Singing

Alice Parker. Worship Works, A National Worship Resource Network, 10619 Alameda Drive, Knoxville, TN 37932; (616) 966-0103. 56 minutes, $39.95

Hymn of the Month


O Come, O Come, Immanuel

In the past few years Advent has become my favorite liturgical season. Why? Because there is nothing more exciting to me than anticipating a great event such as the birth of Christ. "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" anticipates the celebration of Christmas and implores God to be among us always.


Peacemaking Worship Resource

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program in conjunction with the Office of Special Offerings has developed several resources on the theme of social justice. The 1991 Offering for Peacemaking, "Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters," consists of a packet including several worship resources. Single copies of the Promotion Workbook and Packet are available from Distribution Management Service, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202-1396; or call 1-800-524-2612.

He Will Come: Seven themes for Advent and Christmas, page 2 of 2

<< He Will Come: Seven themes for Advent and Christmas, page 1 of 2


"Turn Ye, Turn Ye" [SATB, medium to difficult]
Charles Ives (Presser)

"Thou Shalt Know Him" [SATB, medium]
Austin Lovelace (AMSI)

"Rejoice in the Lord Alway" [SATB, optional double choir, moderately difficult]
Jeffrey Rickard, arr. (Augsburg)

"Rejoice in the Lord Alway" [SATB, with ATB soli, medium]
Henry Purcell (Concordia)

When You Lead Worship: Practical advice for worship leaders

What does it take to lead worship well? As anyone who has prepared to step in front of a congregation for the first time knows, leading worship successfully takes more than courage or a mechanical awareness of what to do when. Good worship leadership demands knowledge, ability, and preparationó and it begins with a good theology of worship.

Join Our Family Choir: No experience needed, all ages welcome

"A new and exciting musical opportunity awaits you," the announcement promised. "Come sing with me Family Choir—a group that demands no weekly rehearsals, provides no robes, and sets no age limits."

Epiphany music for the family choir.


Our church uses The Hymnbook for congregational singing, but we have purchased the new Psalter Hymnal for choir use. This book offers a wealth of resources for the Family Choir.

"Amen" (PsH 365) was a favorite of our Family Choir. The adults sang the "leader" part, and the children sang the "amens." After stanza 5 we repeated the last line of "amens" with everyone singing in parts.

Mincemeat: The worship committee finds the live nativity idea a hard one to swallow

Members of the Worship Committee couldn't bring themselves to get really angry at Betty Simmons for providing "lunch." They had determined long ago that elaborate goodies at every meeting was a tradition that had expired with gender-based Bible studies—the Men's Society vs. The Martha Society (and why was it never called Women's Society?). Everyone agreed that in a culture already cholesterol-sensitive, there would, henceforth, be no more late lunches—nothing but coffee, or, preferably, apple juice.

Advent is for Sing Christmas Songs

Anticipating an event is as exciting (well, almost as exciting) as the event itself. "Getting ready for a party—choosing my dress, having my hair done, and guessing who the other guests will be—is as much fun as the party itself," said a young woman parishioner of mine. Many would say the same about planning a trip or a cruise. Please consider this article a commercial for rediscovering Advent as a season of anticipation—and waiting.

Singing Salvation's Story: Choral suggestions for a service of lessons and carols

Listed on these pages are carols and hymns suitable for each of the nine Scripture lessons of the traditional English evening service. Begun by Dean Eric Milner-White in 1918 at King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, the service of lessons and carols takes place in that chapel at Vespers on Christmas Eve to this day.

The lessons trace salvation history from Genesis through the gospels. After each lesson a carol or hymn is sung, either by the congregation or by a choir. Sometimes two carols are sung after one lesson.

I was there: Three 'witnesses' describe the birth of Jesus

Gathering for Worship:

We prepare for worship in the Gathering Space. Welcome!

Choir: "On Christmas Night" [Sussex Melody]

Processional: "Once in Royal David's City" [stanza 1, soloist; stanza 2, choir; stanzas 3 and 4, choir and congregation]
(PH 49, PsH 346, RL 201, TH 225)

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:2; 42:5-9

Recognize these Christmas songs?


Recognize These Christmas Songs?

Calls to worship for Epiphany

From Hebrews 1:1-3 NRSV

Long ago, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;

now God has spoken to us by a Son.

God made the world through the Son, who has been appointed heir of all things and the perfect reflection of God's glory.

The Son is the exact representation of God's being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Praise God for the gift of the Son.

We welcome the Light of the world!