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”


CONTACT: Rev. Mieke Vandersall 917-776-0292 —

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.


Through Survival to Life

What I see now is that before she was surviving. She wouldn’t be at the well at noon if she wasn’t. Jesus was surviving too, running, against threats that were increasing. And Jesus had found life, his vocation, and the woman wanted life, a vocation. She had nothing more to lose and in that she found her voice, her truth-telling voice, and through that she met her match in Jesus. She made it clear that she knew what she was talking about, despite what everyone else said about her, she was smart and she was going to claim it, and she knew in her survival that she was destined for more, for life itself, and so she took this amorphous living water, this water that gave her purpose, that gave her vocation, and survival brought her to life. 

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