Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pastors & Musicians - The Great Debate

A few months ago, our bishop thought it would be a great idea to connect clergy and church musicians for a time of sharing, debating, and, hopefully, learning.

Today, ministers and musicians from the York-Scarborough Anglican diocese gathered for panels, discussions, and a little music making.

Many large issues came up:
  • What is the role of music in worship?
  • What is the relationship between clergy and organist/music director?
  • In worship, is the lyric or the melody more important?
  • Entertainment vs worship.
  • The changing role of the church choir.
  • How do we teach new music and new musical directions to our congregations?
  • How can we see everyone in our congregation as a 'musician'?
  • Vocal worship vs instrumental worship.
  • Should worship meet culture, reflect culture, or lead culture?
Overall, the day was really good and, I think, crucial, to what we're all trying to do. Clergy generally have some way to connect with other clergy through regular pastoral gatherings, but church musicians tend to get isolated. With our touring ministry, I tend to forget how lucky Gerald and I are to meet and play with so many different church musicians.

My one disappointment in the day was the lack of contemporary praise and worship music. The Anglican church in Toronto has started to embrace a wide variety of musical styles - classical, world, African, jazz, Gospel, Celtic, etc. But praise and worship music is taking the world by storm, and it's a critical part of worship at our church. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but sometimes, we need to recognize that what's 'church' for us, may not be 'church' for other people.

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