September 1999

RW 53
Advent/Christmas
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • All but one of the songs in this issue were included as part of service plans outlined in this issue of Reformed Worship. “My Soul in Stillness Waits” was sung as the opening hymn of every service during the Advent series from Hope Christian Reformed Church, Thunder Bay, Ontario (see p. 3). “O Gladsome Light” was recommended for the New Year’s Eve service plans (see p. 34). “Miren qué bueno¡” was sung at the joint English/Spanish service at West End Presbyterian Church in New York City (see p. 24).

  • As the fall of 1998 came around, the worship planning team at Cascade Fellowship was confronted with two problems. We had determined to enhance the versatility of our worship space with the installation of a computer and video projection system. However, this new technology came into conflict with one of our most treasured symbols—the cross. A screen was erected on the front wall of the worship center that made it impossible for the cross to remain. There was not room enough for the two of them.

  • In past years Reformed Worship has offered churches a series of Advent resources that have often been based on Scripture lessons outlined by the Revised Common Lectionary. This year the resources take a different, though related, direction. Each year the lectionary follows a different gospel more or less sequentially. The gospels of Matthew and Luke (Years A and C respectively) contain enough narrative about Jesus’ birth or early life to make the direct focus on Jesus every week in Advent preaching natural and relatively easy.

  • Whether you’re just beginning your search for suitable service music for piano or you want ideas for adding to your collection, the following list of recent publications should give you a good place to start. Churches with several pianists may want to invest in some of these for a “pianist’s library.” Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).

    Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg Fortress, 1998. #10-10863. 22 pp. $10.00. M.

  • The joy of the Christmas season is an unending fountain of creativity for musicians. I reviewed over fifty new organ collections for the Christmas/Advent/Epiphany season from several publishing houses. The spirit of the season is alive and well in the writing of new organ music. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).

    SOLO ORGAN MUSIC
    FOR THE SEASON

  • “We’ve not found anything, Mom.”

    That’s what Ellen told her. Jan might have felt hopeful if the words weren’t always packaged in a deadbeat tone that carried too much finality, and Jan knew—aren’t mothers supposed to know?—that Ellen wasn’t really looking.

    So Jan had tried once again, last night, Christmas Eve. “Have you found a suitable church?”

  • Maybe you’ve picked up this issue of Reformed Worship right away, and you’re ready to start planning for Advent and Christmas. Yet many of you are still busy planning the more “Ordinary” services in the months leading up to Advent. Planning ahead often takes a back seat to planning for next Sunday.

  • After the grand visual displays of Advent and Christmas, it is often tough to get anyone excited about creating visuals for the start of a new year. Here is one that is not too difficult to make. With all of the hoopla surrounding the turn of the new century, this visual serves as a reminder that everything—including time—is held in our God's protecting hand.

    Brief notes on the banner's construction and a downloadable pattern can be found below.

     

  • This service was planned by Alistair Drummond, pastor, Amy Mendez, associate pastor, and Jorge Lockward, minister of music, along with members of a worship planning team at The West End Presbyterian Church, New York City.

    ASSEMBLING IN GOD'S NAME

    Introit: “Live in Charity” (Music of Taizé, vol 1; GIA) (1)

    Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
    Donde hay amor y caridad. Donde hay amor, Dios tambien está.

  • You’ve been asked to obtain permission to reprint songs for your bulletin, Christmas program, liturgy, or Bible-study song sheets. Or maybe you want to copy the text of the choir’s anthem in the bulletin, make overhead transparencies of songs for your congregation, or copy a special theme song into the church newsletter . . . and you wonder how to do this legally.