Going Paperless

well, going less paper, I guess.

Since I arrived at St. Andrew’s, I’ve used my computer and digital projector as one of the support tools for worship. Over the last month, we’ve been engaged in an experiment of no printed bulletin.

Well – no printed bulletin except for the choir.
And the various worship leaders.
And the large-print versions for the people who have visual impairment, or have other difficulty seeing the screen.

The large-print version used to be a larger print version of the order of worship – now it is a larger print version of the entire “script” – all of the hymns and prayers, the psalms and other parts.

All-in-all, we’re using about half the paper we were using before… and the singing has jumped a level. I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes when people lift their heads and sing out, rather than face into the hymn book. Wow!

Most of our hymns still come from Voices United – the ones that are in the Public Domain or are covered by LicenSing, of course. That means that the people who would like the score are able to flip open the hymnbook. Other hymns come from More Voices (or other sources covered by LicenSing). Though this could be more of an issue – especially for the musically minded – it has been a lot of fun helping people to realize they don’t need to lock themselves into the confined rhythm and notes that are written on the paper.

I must say, though, that this hasn’t decreased my worship prep time!

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Much More Music’s Top 10

is working itself into our worship services.

This week, I’m going to be using Crash Parallel’s “World We Know”.

They’re a group from Toronto who has been getting some great airplay.

The scripture I’m focussing on this Sunday? Genesis 6:9-22; 7:24; 8:14-19… the beginning of Noah’s story.

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Some of the Fun Things

we’ve been working on at St. Andrew’s Haney United Church!

Over the past few years, I’ve been working on helping the congregation explore the six marks of discipleship, as suggested by Michael Foss in Powersurge. One of the realities is that language makes a big difference to folks… and Michael’s language is that of the evangel tradition in the US. So, to help the folks with whom I serve, I came up with the following reworking:
Uplifted through daily prayer.
Nourished in weekly worship.
Informed through daily conversation with scripture.
Taking God’s love to others through service.
Engaged in spiritual relationships.
Donating back God’s gifts of time, talent and treasure.

I came up with an earlier version of this acronym about two and a half years ago, and, though I didn’t introduce it to the congregation when I came here, I did use the underlying ideas as base concepts for our ministry together.

That has led to:
– the Council (the Elders) accepting the responsibility of daily prayer for those on their visitation list;
– members of the congregation taking the responsibility of daily prayer for each person baptized through our congregational worship;
– the development of a Daily Scripture and Prayer Brochure, used not only by 60 people in this congregation, but people in 27 other United Church congregations across Canada.

We used the U.N.I.T.E.D. exploration as a Lenten discipline, with each one of the worship gatherings in Lent focused on one of the marks, with take-home reading and questions, and small groups gathering to talk about what they had heard and explored.

On Palm Sunday, 3 Youths and 4 Adults made a profession of faith. 84 other participants made a commitment to living out the six marks in their daily life.

Part of what I love about the six marks is that it doesn’t matter where one is on the theological spectrum! I consider myself to be a wacko-liberal-type of Christ-follower… but living out each of those marks is just as important to my faith walk as it is for my insanely-traditional-type-Christian friends.

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A Content Management System for Church Websites

I’m having problems keeping up with posting content on our congregation’s website.

This makes it out of date.

That is not good.

Any suggestions on a CMS that would be simple to set up and simple to use?

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BC Conference of The United Church of Canada

Sooooo… I just spent my last three-and-a-bit days at our almost annual gathering of delegates from UCCan congregations throughout BC.

It was – hmmm – absolutely fantastic! I was worried that the theme, “To reconcile and make new” was going to be really heavy. It wasn’t. Every speaker – while reminding us that there is distance to go, and much hard work to come – spoke with hope about what is next. Brian Thorpe, Alison Rennie, Dr. Chief Robert Joseph, Bruce Sanguin… wow!

The music – facilitated by rEvolve, had us moving and singing and dancing and celebrating the presence of the Divine.

Often, I’ve come out of Conference meetings with a sense of “this was good. I’m glad I was there.” This one I’m coming out with a sense of “YEAH! Now I can go back to the congregation and the Presbytery and do the stuff that needs to be done. YEOW!”

I’m glad I went.

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On Blogging in The United Church of Canada

Ok – so I know I’ve been away from blogging.

There has been a long time when my creative energy didn’t really want to get poured into online posting… and, when I moved to my new community, there were other reasons for not posting.

But I may actually come back.

Wny? To stand in the face of a Proposal from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Conference to the General Council Executive that has asked that a blogs be specifically included in our new “Code of Ethics”.

The phrase, “Oh, come on!”

The UCCan already has a number of ways of making me accountable for my words. Currently, though, the burden is upon those who would accuse a minister of being unethical in their blogging to prove that what they were doing did damage to the good order of the congregation.

Just like they could do with my preaching.

Or my writing in the newspaper.

Or any other aspect of my life.

There is no need to include this gem in our ethical standards.

*sigh*

Time to: a) start blogging every day; and b) sit down and have a chat with BC’s representatives to General Council Executive.

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