Although the food and fellowship at our temporary home were wonderful, the purpose of the conference was to study and learn more about effective worship. We all desired to gain new perspectives to bring back to Lexington to enhance the worship experience in our own church.
Most of our group participated in the adult choir. I signed up for the instrumental ensemble and two art sessions. Others attended sessions on emerging worship, polity and preaching. A few just enjoyed the opportunity to relax and worship. There are a whole host of other options for adults and additional offerings for young adults, teens and children. I'm told that there is a danger in trying to do too much because so much is available.
Along with the instrumental sessions (alas, no pictures), I had signed up for two art classes: the art lecture pictured here and the two-hour art workshop.
The instructor for both art classes was Brenda Grauer, an ordained pastor and artist who was also responsible for creating the sets for our daily worship services. She is the founder of a company called In Stiches Center for Liturgical Art.
Brenda had displayed a sample of some of the stoles produced by her company and a mission relationship with a women's cooperative in Nicaragua named Stitching Hope.
In addition to discussing liturgical art and the various ways it can be used to enliven and inform our worship, Brenda shared her experiences with this remarkable group of women.
For our workshop Brenda had brought a variety of materials that could be used to create our own liturgical projects. She included fabric notions (the heaps of beautiful fabric scraps aren't shown).
Since fabric artists had been asked to bring their own sewing machines, LexPres associate pastor Sarah Hill and I both worked on paper projects using other materials Brenda supplied. She emphasized that the goal wasn't to produce a completed project, but to experiment with different materials and techniques to learn the possibilities.
I had never done anything like this before, so it was all new and
exciting to me! For my project I tried to come up with a visual representation
of Micah 6:8: the keynote verse for Project 225 -- the celebration
of the 225th anniversary of Lexington Presbyterian's foundation:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
It was interesting work although the result was not up to my vision.
A more satisfying project was dying a silk scarf. This is a project that Sarah is planning on introducing at LexPres.
Another project we worked on was making these cutouts of children. During and after the Thursday worship service people came up to paint messages or images about their concerns. The figures were then incorporated into the final Communion service so that we could bring those concerns to the Lord's Table.
In addition to the messages on the cutouts, congregants were invited to take slips of paper and write the names of individuals who had made a significant contribution to their spiritual growth. These were also collected and brought to the Table.
The overall theme of the week was taken from the hymn Rise, O Church, Like Christ Arisen. The daily services were built around the following phrases taken from the hymn:
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