Beginnings

God’s speaking does not stand separate from God’s making. The divine speaking often involves a speaking with whatever is already created, with the pain of the moments that have brought us into creative inspiration, with the resilience that has brought us to try things new for us, with the desire to touch the Sacred in ways that we can only do together, and even with the culture of white supremacy that we are called to disrupt. The divine speaking often involves us in such a way that the receiver of the Word also helps to shape the result, the many beginnings and intentions and desires of the receiver are part of a holy interaction of creativity. While God’s beginnings before our beginnings creates the potential for this interactive response, it is creation from within the creation, not from outside of it where it happens.

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Vital Scriptural Interpretation Resource for Congregations Now Available

Not So Churchy releases “Finding Our Voice: Finding God’s Voice: A Resource for Scriptural Interpretation Through Song and the Arts”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Rev. Mieke Vandersall 917-776-0292 —mieke@notsochurchy.org

New York, NY: After a yearlong project in which its congregants took on the work of interpreting and presenting scripture readings, Not So Churchy has published Finding Our Voice: Finding God’s Voice — A Resource for Scriptural Interpretation Through Song and the Arts.  The resource, which includes five short films along with accompanying essays and support materials, documents what Not So Churchy’s congregants did and learned over the course of this work and how other congregations might try it for themselves.

The project, partially funded by a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc. began last summer.  The Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Not So Churchy’s pastor and founder, says, “Our leadership and music teams decided to hand creative authority over to our congregation by inviting each of our members to present a scripture reading over the course of the year.  We gave them training by way of workshops in songwriting, song leading, movement, and then we set them loose to create, and the results far exceed our expectations.”

The first congregant-led scripture presentations began last October and have incorporated various techniques—songs written and led by the congregants, improvisations involving the entire congregation, readings set off by choreography, often accompanied by instrumental improvisations from Not So Churchy’s musicians.  The presentations evolved through workshops held every four months, in which the congregants presented their work in process and heard back from workshop leaders and fellow congregants.

“Now that we’ve seen what our congregation can do, we can’t go back to the old way of doing things,” says Vandersall.  “And we created this resource so that other churches can discover what their congregations are capable of doing.” The impact of the work, Vandersall says, extends beyond the realm of liturgy.  “Investing those in our congregations with more creative and theological authority is a vital next step in the work of the wider church, and we think this resource will help others take what for us was a transforming leap of faith.”

The Rev. Mieke Vandersall is available for interview upon request.

 

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About Not So Churchy:  The Not So Churchy worshipping community, based in New York City, is intimate, portable, and spiritually curious and committed. We worship monthly and gather for education, spirituality groups, service and community events.  We are artists, community activists, and musicians. We are adults and kids. We are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and straight allies.

www.notsochurchy.org