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 —firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.