This week a quartet of singers will sing two anthems during the service, “Even Here” by Mark Miller and “The Call” by Suzanne Toolan. Mark Miller is an African-American composer and musician, and teaches at the Drew Theological School and at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. He is particularly concerned with justice and inclusion both within and outside the church. Sister Suzanne Toolan serves as resident liturgist at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California.
Last Sunday a group of about 25 people gathered in the Fellowship Hall to go out into neighborhoods to carol. We split into three groups, two went to Westminster Canterbury and one went to the Colonnades and nearby church members. In all, we made 14 caroling stops and spread unmeasurable joy. Jackie Brownfield hosted our last stop with food for the hard working carolers. Thank you to Jackie for her hospitality, and to Carolyn Kelly for her help organizing the Westminster Canterbury visits.
In our ten-week session this fall the Life-Long Song group has enjoyed singing Psalms at the beginning of each of our meetings. We have also sung several rounds, including a setting of Psalm 150. In our exploration of music with texts on peace we learned an anthem by Michael Burkhardt entitled “Beloved, God’s Chosen,” with a text by Susan Palo Cherwien. We found it inspiring and comforting in these difficult times. Life-Long Song will not resume in the spring semester. Thank you to those who have come and participated. I have enjoyed making music with you all.
Beloved, God’s chosen, put on as a garment
compassion, forgiveness, and goodness of heart.
Above all, before all, let love be your raiment
that binds into one every dissonant part.
Within, call forth Wisdom, to dwell in you richly;
let peace rule your hearts and that peace be of Christ.
And from the heart’s chamber, beloved and holy,
let singing thanksgiving to God ever rise.
The Singers and the Choristers help to lead worship this week. The Choristers will sing Teach Me Your Way by American composer Timothy Shaw with a text based on Psalm 86:11-13. As the Choristers prepared to sing in worship they have been singing songs and making crafts about following God. In worship we will sing one of their favorite hymns on this theme, Guide My Feet. The Singers will sing a round that was originally written by G. P. Telemann (1681-1767) and has been arranged by Dave and Jean Perry: I Will Rejoice. We have enjoyed working on this round and focusing our ears to hear all the parts while we sing together.
The Music and Worship Committees have been considering what draws people to the 8:30 service at Westminster. In an effort to open this conversation to all Westminster worshipers, we will hold the last of three town hall style meetings this Sunday, November 12 to hear what you think of the 8:30 service. This brief meeting will occur right at the conclusion of the 8:30 service, around 9:15 and include a time to share thoughts as well as a time to fill out a brief survey. The meeting will conclude at 9:30 to allow folks to attend Christian Education classes. If you are unable to attend the meetings, the survey will be available in the church office and the gathering place. We are excited by the response and enthusiasm of our 8:30 worshippers. If you have not had a chance to add your voice to this conversation, please come on Sunday, or pick up a survey to fill out. Completed surveys may be given to ushers after worship or turned in to the church office.