What an incredible weekend of classes we had at The Center for Worship & Music Studies. Students came from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Colorado. We even had a guest from Leipzig, Germany. Friday we gathered at Prince of Peace in Brooklyn Park, MN, with teachers, Mary Preus, Chad Winterfeldt, and myself (Jay Beech) for Leading Congregational Singing. Students included very experienced church musicians, so the conversations were really rich and interesting.
Saturday morning we were back at PoP for Contemplative Music for Worship with teacher, Tom Witt. We learned beautiful songs from Taizé, Holden Prayer Around the Cross, and several other sources. Tom led us through a couple of very meaningful services and shared ideas about how to effectively introduce congregations to these practices.
Saturday afternoon face-to-face students were joined by distance learners for The Best of Worship & Praise. Led by a good band, we sang through lots of new music from the Christian music industry that had been selected for theological content, sing-ability, and topical variety.
That evening I was able to attend Agape’s CD release party at the Capri Theater in north Minneapolis where he performed tunes from his new title, Enough. It was excellent! Great theology, music, and dancing.
The next morning is Contemplative Music for Worship with Tom Witt. You’ll learn lots of music from Taizé, Holden Prayer Around the Cross, and other sources from 9:00-Noon.
Saturday afternoon is The Best of Worship & Praise led by myself and Nate Bergengren from Prince of Peace. We have selected music from current Christian contemporary sources that aligns well with Lutheran and other mainline worship practices. A great band will be on hand to lead and teach this material.
What an amazing privilege is was last Friday to teach Composing Music for the Congregation with Susan Palo Cherwien, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, and Donna Peña! We gathered at Lord of Life Lutheran in Maple Grove with students who were physically present and distance learners joining through live videoconference. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from these gifted composers and to sing and evaluate the original compositions submitted by students.
The next day we held our first Repertoire Studies classes. Richard and Donna each led a half-day session teaching their compositions. I came away incredibly blessed by the time spent learning new music for worship. The texts and the music were so rich and really brought the word of God and the experience of faith to life.
Next Monday evening , October 12th, Jay Beech, the Executive Director of The Center for Worship & Music Studies, will be part of an ongoing lecture series at Gustavus Adolphus College called, Exploring Religious Questions. Cantor of Christ Chapel at Gustavus, Dr. Chad Winterfeldt, and Jay will present on the topic, “The Power of Music in Christian Faith and Life: Biblical, Theological, and Contemporary Sources.”
The event is the first in a four-part series. Cost to attend all four lectures is $35. It begins at 7:00 p.m. in room 103 of Olin Hall located in the center of the Gustavus campus in St. Peter, MN. If you have any questions, call the Office of Church Relations at Gustavus at (507) 933-7001 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who signs up for our email list this week will be entered in a drawing to receive a free registration in one of our four Repertoire Studies classes in October. (Those already on our list are not eligible. Sorry.) We will draw one name for every 25 new signups we receive before midnight on Friday (12:00 a.m. Saturday morning). Tell your friends!
As of October 21st, 2015 this position has been filled.
The Center for Worship & Music Studies Board of Directors has authorized the creation of a half-time Administrative Assistant position. This individual will work in our office in Minneapolis and will be involved in all aspects of the organization. The position is available immediately.
If you or someone you know would be interesting in helping grow this exciting new ministry, follow one of these links to download the job description in PDF or DOC format.
Where do you find really good new music for your services? At The Center for Worship & Music Studies Repertoire Studies classes, that’s where! We are offering four half-day classes this fall in the Twin Cities, but all of them are also available through our distance learning option.
Fall classes will be underway in less than two weeks, but it’s not late to register! Our exciting new core class, Worship 101, begins on September 28th, with the first of eight Monday evening classes. Five really interesting and dynamic instructors will teach this broad survey course. This class meets in Minneapolis, but offers a distance learning option.
Our first technology training class, Church Audio Basics, will be Saturday, October 3rd in Maple Grove, MN. This introductory course will provide participants a better understanding of how sounds systems work, how to use them effectively in worship, and teach basic troubleshooting. Send us your Sunday morning audio engineers!
We think it’s critically important for everyone in ministry to continue to learn and grow, expanding both their knowledge and skill sets. Taking advantage of new learning opportunities can also be very energizing, providing a benefit to the learner and to the communities they serve.
Most ELCA congregations provide some continuing education funds for full-time staff and rostered leaders. Nine ELCA synods* have, in fact, qualified our class offerings for continuing ed credit hours for rostered leaders.
But what about all those gifted people who serve their congregations on an avocational basis, either part-time or as volunteers? Few congregations have money in their budgets to support learning and development for these folks.
Is your church willing to make a wonderful investment in the depth and quality its worship life? Encourage your worship planners and musicians to study with us and give them some financial support. Whether they take a single class or pursue our Certificate in Worship & Music Leadership, your congregation will realize a great benefit for a very modest investment.
*ELCA Synods that have pre-qualified our classes for continuing education credit hours are:
We are so thankful that Donna Peña has agreed to teach for us this fall. Donna is a gifted and passionate composer associated with GIA Publications whose work is well-known in the Roman Catholic Church. She is also a very devoted “pastoral musician,” having served for many years as music director at Our Lady of Guadalupe on the west side of St. Paul, MN.
Donna began composing bi-lingual music for her community back in the mid 1980s. Though largely serving an Hispanic population, the church included recent immigrants who spoke only Spanish, as well as multi-generation residents, some of whom spoke no Spanish. Her creative combination of both Spanish and English provided unity in worship for her congregation, and was a model copied by many others.
Marty Haugen says, “Having known Dona Peña since the early eighties, I have been so impressed by her eagerness to continually learn and grow as a musician and composer. And she has been passionate about supporting and enlivening the voice of the communities she has served so faithfully.”