one congregation’s plan for multicultural worship

Adrian posted a couple of links in response to the post with the video about multicultural worship, and I want to highlight one of them that to my ear sounds very Unitarian (at least, it sounds a lot like the music programs at my congregation).

Now, this guy is the pastor of a megachurch with lots of resources (members and financial) at his disposal. This kind of diversity is harder to achieve as the congregation size gets smaller. Does that make it impossible? I don’t think so. The Alban Institute book mentioned earlier takes on the challenge head-on. The first step in achieving more inclusive, more lively worship is the desire to do so.

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About liberalreligiongetsloud

Contemporary Music and Worship Director (retired), First Unitarian, Albuquerque NM
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2 Responses to one congregation’s plan for multicultural worship

  1. Adrian Kent says:

    The first step in achieving more inclusive, more lively worship is the desire to do so.

    Amen! And amen!

    Also essential for anything meaningful to get off the ground is for people to commit to quality. Of course, the small congregation can’t hire music professionals whose market value is more than they can afford to pay their minister, but sloppy and careless presentation is just as bad as staying in the same old ruts.

    An illustration from my parent’s fundamentalist church in rural/very-small-town southern Illinois, a nearly mono-racial county with religion visible only in Protestant and Catholic Christian flavors (with little industry and no hospital in the county, there are not even Hindu/ Muslim/ Jewish/ etc. professionals there):

    Since the early 1960s, my mother, now in her late 70s, has been the unpaid church pianist, and a woman now in her late 80s has been the unpaid organist since the mid-1970s, when the previous organist died. For many years, the congregation was stagnant, nearly all the young families going to the church of the same denomination with the new building in a newer area of town. But in the last 10 years the trend has shifted, with the young coming “back” to the old church. The congregation’s population burgeoned, and they added on to the old building, more than doubling its size.

    But with all the new people has anyone come forward to offer to play piano or organ even just as an occasional respite to the two now old women who have happily and humbly devoted their talents – twice every Sunday for 5 decades and counting – to Sunday services? No. Some of the younger people do play piano or organ but cannot be convinced to use their talents in worship because they don’t feel they can offer as professional a quality of music. They run the real risk of soon being a church with attendance of ~200 but no musicians.

    And why? What is my long-winded point? That even in the middle of Nowheresville people are not willing to put up with poor quality or provide any effort that they believe others would perceive as not measuring up. Quality is essential.

    Commitment to quality is essential.

  2. Paul Oakley says:

    You’ve mentioned the book From a Mustard Seed, which I’ve not had a chance to see yet. But do you have any ideas about bridging the desire-quality gap? Not every small church that wants to do new stuff can afford to pay for external resources. And if UU churches face the same unwillingness to participate for fear of not appearing sufficiently professional that Adrian describes, how do we get over the hump?

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