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Reflections on “Music that Makes Community”

By Lynne Glickert, Music Director

In October, I had the pleasure of attending the Convergence Music Project conference for musicians, pastors, worship leaders and anyone interested in justice-building, inclusive and progressive music and worship.   It was filled with powerful talks, inspiring music, provocative worship and community-building.  I learned more about the role music plays in worship, spiritual formation, and social transformation.  I discovered new musical resources.  I experienced the sharing of ideas, best practices, soulful worship, and the blessing of being in community, networking, and encouraging each other. One of the best parts was being with other church leaders from around the US that care deeply about the church of today and how it must be a place that welcomes everyone.  I felt like I had found my tribe. 

I coordinate my music choices at St. Francis with Laurie+ and I follow the recommended music selections based on the scripture readings for each Sunday.  I choose music that speaks to me on an emotional level knowing that hopefully it will do that with you as well.  I have always taken this task of my position at St. Francis very seriously.  But something one of the speakers said added to my serious intent.  He reminded us that as Music Directors, we are putting words in the mouths of every person attending church.  It matters that our choices do not alienate or trigger negative reactions from parishioners.  That means the obvious, like avoiding ‘Bloody Jesus, Rambo Jesus and Boyfriend Jesus’.  But it also means making sure that we are designing worship experiences for communities of faith that embrace a more “just and generous” understanding of the Gospel. 

I always like to hear what you think about your experiences with the music at St. Francis.  I really do want to hear when you want ‘more’ of something, or ‘less’ of something, or if a particular line or phrase in a hymn is troubling to you.   I can’t make everyone happy all the time.  But I do appreciate feedback as we continue to strive for a welcome and just community of believers.

Some photos of the conference are available at the Convergence Facebook page.

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