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The "Ritual of the Ribbons" at 2013 National Gathering

By Theresa Cho

NEXT Worship Overall Thematic Flow & Ritual:

Colors of fabric and ribbon were purple, red, blue, white, and yellow. The colors of a Korean fabric called Saekdong. Saekdong is usually used for children’s clothing and “protects the evoking of dreams of children.”

Advent Worship:

Sheets of fabric were torn into strips during the confession. Each participant was given a 5 ft. ribbon before worship. As a way to prepare for new birth, conferees were invited to place the ribbon in the manger, letting go of what prevents them from being open to whatever will birth in them during the conference. manger

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Baptism Worship:

The ripped fabric was woven together, connecting the baptismal font and the manger together. The ribbon in the manger was returned to the conferees as a way of remembering our baptismal identity as a child of God. In preparation for the next worship, participants were asked to follow instructions on the bulletin insert and bring the ribbon to the next worship. NEXT Words font

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Lent Worship:

The ripped fabric was displayed on the chancel and communion table in the pattern of Saekdong. After reflection on Luke 4.14-21, conferees were asked to pair up and share their call saying “My call is to (verb) (verb) (verb) (noun)” Share a quick reaction to their call. Then, their partner will say “Your call is to . . . “ and then “stole” their partner. Afterwards, each conferee placed their ribbon in the offering basket as their offering of their call. theresa

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Pentecost Worship:

The ribbons were woven on the communion table, representing how our calls are woven together. As conferees came up for communion, they were asked to take a stole of someone else, take it home and pray for them.

table

Music from 2013 National Gathering

Corey Nelson, part of the worship team for the 2013 National Gathering, sends along this list of music featured in worship in Charlotte. He also offered to be a resource for people who have questions about the music. Contact him at: Corey Nelson First Presbyterian Church Lake Forest, Illinois cnelson@firstchurchlf.org ~

NEXT 2013 Worship Songs

Songs marked with an * are in the new hymnal!

MONDAY AM – ADVENT

Ashe, AsheTraditional West African Chant One tradition says that this song was used by traveling tribes upon entering new villages.  When a visiting tribe was approaching a village they would sing Fanga-Alafiya to indicate that they come in peace. If the villagers welcome them, they reply: Ashe-Ashe. Then, the travelers and villagers reverse the lines.  The fanga song was often the common denominator between tribes that otherwise spoke different languages.  The lyrics we used for verses at NEXT were written by Adam Fischer specifically for the conference and are easily adaptable to a variety of settings and themes:

God is here and welcomes you – ashe, ashe Prepare the way and worship too – ashe, ashe Dance & sing, come join the crowd – ashe, ashe God is with us, shout out loud – ashe, ashe Ashe, ashe, ashe, ashe        Ashe, ashe, ashe, ashe  (repeat)   Celebrate with joy today – ashe, ashe With love & grace prepare the way – ashe, ashe Come from places far and near – ashe, ashe Our new journey starts from here – ashe, ashe  — chorus   On this journey we will go – ashe, ashe God travels with us on the road – ashe, ashe Guide us through our darkest night – ashe, ashe Grant us vision, shine your light – ashe, ashe

*Canticle Of The Turning – USA/Northern Ireland (tune) Words by Rory Cooney © GIA Publications, Inc.

My soul cries out with a joyful shout; That the God of my heart is great, And my spirit sings of the wondrous things; That you bring to the ones who wait. You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight And my weakness you did not spurn So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn? My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, And the world is about to turn!   Though I am small, my God my all, You work great things in me, And your mercy will last from the depths of the past To the end of the age to be. Your very name puts the proud to shame, And to those who would for you yearn, You will show your might, put the strong to flight, For the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, Not a stone will be left on stone. Let the king beware for your justice tears Ev’ry tyrant from his throne. The hungry poor shall weep no more, For the food they can never earn; There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, For the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, We remember who holds us fast: God’s mercy must deliver us From the conqueror’s crushing grasp. This saving word that our forbears heard Is the promise which holds us bound, ‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, Who is turning the world around.

*He Came Down – Cameroon/Iona Trad. Cameroon; trans. and arr. by John Bell (published in several Iona resources)

He came down that we may have hope

He came down that we may have hope

He came down that we may have hope

Hallelujah, forever more.

He came down that we may have peace…joy…love…hope

Light of the Stable (lyrics adapted) Elizabeth & Steve Rhymer, © 1975. Renewed 2003 Tessa Publishing Company (Admin. by Conexion Media Group, Inc.)

Hail, Hail to the coming king Let our voices sing out our praises Hail, Hail to the guiding light That brings us tonight to our savior Halle—Hallelujah  (4X)

Come now let’s prepare the way For the happy day of his coming Bow down to messiah near Cast aside your fear and be thankful Halle—Hallelujah  (4X)

MONDAY PM – BAPTISM

Come Thou Fount

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

All Who Are Thirsty Words and music: Brenton Brown and Glenn Robertson © 1998 Vineyard Songs

All who are thirsty, all who are weak, come to the fountain, dip your heart in the steams of life. Let your pain and your sorrows be washed away in the waves of God’s mercy, as deep cries out to deep, we sing: Come, Lord Jesus, come. (repeat) Holy Spirit, come. (repeat)

Wade in the Water Words and music: African-American spiritual

Refrain: Wade in the water, wade in the water, children. Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water.   Well, who are these children all dressed in red? God’s a-gonna trouble the water Must be the children that Moses led God’s a-gonna trouble the water.   

Chorus   If you don’t believe I’ve been redeemed, God’s gonna trouble the water. Follow me down to Jordan’s stream. God’s a-gonna trouble the water. 

Chorus   Jordan’s water is chilly and cold. God’s gonna trouble the water. It chills the body, but not the soul. God’s a-gonna trouble the water. 

Chorus   Look over yonder, what do I see? God’s gonna trouble the water. Holy Ghost a fallin’ on me. God’s a-gonna trouble the water.  Chorus

TUESDAY AM – LENT

Come, Let Us Worship God Text & tune: Tay Makeever © 1983 Ray Makeever, admin. Augsburg Fortress

Come, let us worship God…Come, Let us worship God Come, let us worship God…Come, Let us worship God Welcome, everyone…Welcome, everyone To the love of God…To the love of God …   Rest for the weary … Food for the hungry… Peace for the nations… Come, let us worship God…

Kyrie Music ©2002 Chip Andrus

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison God, have mercy, Christ have mercy, grant us peace.

God Be the Love to Search and Keep Me (we sang three of the five original verses) Richard Bruxvoort Colligan © 2004 worldmaking.net & This Here Music

God be the love to search and keep me God, be the prayer to move my voice God, be the strength to now uphold me O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me   Walking behind to hem my journey Going ahead to light my way And from beneath, above and always O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me   Christ in the eyes of all who see me Christ in the ears that hear my voice Christ in the hearts of all who know me O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me

*The Servant Song Richard Gillard © 1977 Scripture in Song

Will you let me be your servant Let me be as Christ to you Pray that I might have the grace To let you be my servant too   We are pilgrims on a journey We are travelers on the road We are here to help each other Walk the mile and bear the load   I will hold the Christ-light for you In the night time of your fear I will hold my hand out to you Speak the peace you long to hear   I will weep when you are weeping When you laugh I’ll laugh with you I will share your joy and sorrow Till we’ve seen this journey through   Brother sister let me serve you Let me be as Christ to you Pray that I may have the grace To let you be my servant too

*Take, O Take Me as I Am (Iona – John Bell)

Take, o take me as I am Summon out what I shall be Set your seal upon my heart And live in me.

TUESDAY PM – PENTECOST

Kuna Kucheza (Kenya/Swahili) Traditional © Church of All Nations

Kuna kucheza, kucheza … Halleluia (There is dancing, dancing) Kuna kucheza, kwa ajabu … Halleluia Kucheza, Kucheza … Halleluia Kuna Kucheza, kwa ajabu … Halleluia (There is dancing, for it’s amazing)   Kuna kuimba, kuimba … Halleluia… (There is singing, singing)   Kuna kuomba, kuomba … Halleluia… (There is praying, praying)   Kuna kusifu, kusifu … Halleluia…(There is praising, praising)

*Somos El Cuerpo de Cristo words & music by Jaime Cortez & Bob Hurd Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.

We are the body of Christ. Hemos oído el llamado; we’ve answered “yes” to the call of the Lord. Somos el cuerpo de Cristo. We are the body of Christ. Traemos su santo mensaje. We come to bring the good news to the world. (1) Dios viene al mundo a través de nosotros. Somos el cuerpo de Cristo. God is revealed when we love one another. We are the body of Christ. Al mundo a cumplir la misión de la Iglesia, somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Bringing the light of God’s mercy to others, we are the body of Christ. (2) Cada persona es parte del reino; somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Putting a stop to all discrimination, we are the body of Christ. Todas las razas que habitan la tierra, somos el cuerpo de Cristo. All are invited to feast in the banquet. We are the body of Christ. (3) Que nuestras acciones reflejen justicia; somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Stopping abuse and relieving the hungry, we are the body of Christ. Vamos al mundo a cuidar su rebaño. somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Serving each other we build up the kingdom; we are the body of Christ.

*Si Tuvieras Fe (If You Only Had Faith) Spanish Caribbean Pentecostal Chorus/trans. Jorge Lockward

“If you only had faith just like a little grain of mustard,” this is what Jesus declares. (repeat) “You would be able to tell the mountain, ‘Move away. Move away.’”(repeat) And then the mountain would move away, would move away, would move away.  (repeat four times) Spanish Caribbean chorus, public domain.  The arrangement we used was published in For Everyone Born: Global Songs for an Emerging Church © 2008 GBGMusik, The United Methodist Church

Today we all are called to be disciples of the Lord Arr & Harm Ralph Vaughn Williams ©1906 Oxford University Press , textH. Kenn Carmichael©1989; rearr: Troy Bronsink

Chorus Lead us       Onward     Shape Us    Inwardly Help us follow you       Outward lead us on Lead us on

Verse 1 Today we all are called to be disciples of the Lord To help to set the captives free, Make plowshare out of sword, To feed the hungry, quench their thirst, Make love and peace our fast To serve the poor and homeless first, Our ease and comfort last  

Verse 2 God made the world and at its birth ordained our human race To live as stewards of the earth, responding to God’s grace. But we are vain and sadly proud. We sow not peace but strife Our discord spreads a deadly cloud that threatens all of life…chorus

Verse 3 Pray justice may come rolling down as in a mighty stream With righteousness in field and town to cleanse us and redeem For God is longing to restore an earth where conflicts cease A world that was created for a harmony of peace…chorus

Verse 4 May we in service to our God act out the living word And walk the road the saints have trod till all have seen and heard As stewards of the earth may we give thanks in one accord To God who calls us all to be Disciples of the Lord…chorus

The Work of the People, Done Over Coffee: The Liturgy Collective

by Sharon Core

The Busboys and Poets Liturgical Collective takes the Presbyterian belief of connectionalism seriously!  One day, while meeting at Busboys and Poets (Shirlington; Arlington, VA), three Presbyterian ministers wondered why there weren’t more collaborative efforts among churches, especially when it came to planning worship.  These three ministers also acknowledged that as solo pastors, having others to meet and plan with would be a godsend!  The three congregations and their ministers were:  Arlington Presbyterian Church (Sharon Core), Church of the Covenant (Beth Goss) and Clarendon Presbyterian Church (David Ensign).

Working with Advent texts, the collective wrote liturgy that each congregation used during the four Sundays of Advent.  Each congregation took responsibility for a Sunday—choosing hymns, prayers, responsive readings and “practicing the faith” opportunities.  In addition to writing liturgy together, the three congregations shared preachers.  On the first and fourth Sundays of Advent, each minister was in her/his own pulpit and on the second and third Sundays preached in the other two pulpits.

The Collective expanded for Lent, inviting Fairlington Presbyterian Church (Leslianne Braunstein) and NEXT Church director Jessica Tate.  For the Lenten season, the collective is focusing on Lent as a journey as we follow the journey of Jesus.  Again, each congregation/person is taking responsibility for a Sunday, writing the liturgy that each church will share.  In addition to the Sundays of Lent, there are also cooperative efforts for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship.

Future plans include sharing worship during the summer—Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.

Questions?   Contact any member of the collective:  Leslianne Braunstein (Leslianne@LBraunstein.us), Sharon Core (pastor@arlingtonpresbyterian.org), David Ensign (revdocdee@gmail.com), Susan Graceson (sgraceson@hotmail.com), Beth Goss (JBethGoss@aol.com), or Jessica Tate (revjetate@gmail.com).


Sharon Core is pastor of Arlington Presbyterian Church.

The Spirit Comes to Washington… A Reflection on the DC/Richmond Regional Gathering

by Stephen Smith-Cobbs

We began out on the side porches of The Church of the Pilgrims with coffee, bagels, and a gentle but persistent breeze that was a portent of things to come in more ways than one. While we all were more than aware of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Sandy and her high winds and heavy rains, I am not sure we were as aware of the coming of the Spirit. But the NEXT church leadership conference, “Dynamic Church in a Time of Change,” was one occasion when the Spirit came.

With song and a choral reading of the Pentecost story from Acts, pastors Jeff Krehbiel and Ashley Goff of the Pilgrims church welcomed the participants and shared the story of the worship life of their congregation. Just as the story of Pentecost came to us from all directions in the choral reading, the worship life of Pilgrims seeks to involve worshippers in multiple ways. Worship at Pilgrims strives to be EPIC (experiential, participatory, image-driven, and connectional). The Pilgrims congregation believes that God is calling them to be a community of transformation that engages newcomers, especially young adults, in the practices of Christian community. At this NEXT church event, the whole day was itself a reflection of this kind of worship experience … as the Spirit came.

Jud Hendrix, Coordinator of the Ecclesia Project, a ministry of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, used images and poetry as he shared reflections on leadership. As we did throughout the day, participants broke into triads for sharing impressions and thoughts about what was presented. Judd used several poems that became the basis for examples of and lessons in leadership. He spoke of prototyping, which he defined as a short-term experiment for the purpose of learning – as opposed to the way some use the term “prototype” to speak of a kind of model for solving a problem. Jud closed the morning with the “Broken Toaster” game, in which we might take apart a toaster, and then, instead of trying to put it back together exactly as it was, we instead ask what the Spirit wants to do with all the component parts. What can the Spirit do or create with these parts? And the Spirit came …

During lunch we used an “Open Space” approach to breaking into small groups. Individuals who wished to lead a discussion were invited to share the topic they wished to discuss (like “Biblical Story Telling,” “How to Make Friends in Church” and “Creating Relationships and Community in Worship”). These leaders stationed themselves at various tables in the fellowship hall and participants brought their lunch to a tables according to their interest. Of course, some only wanted to share fellowship and conversation over lunch and several did just that.

We returned from lunch to hear Jud share the remarkable story of the Ecclesia Project and how God used some unlikely folks to help begin new communities of faith in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. One important leadership distinction Jud mentioned was how, rather than funding one large project with one large set of funds, the Ecclesia Project used one large set of funds to make multiple small grants for wildly different initiatives, trusting the same Spirit of Christ that spoke in many different languages at Pentecost to work in many different ways in their presbytery. And the Spirit came …

The final theme for the day was mission. Andrew Foster-Connors and Jessica Tate shared their experiences of how community organizing had made a difference in the ministries of their congregations, as well as their own personal ministries. The very definition of the word “mission” was transformed for them through broad-based organizing in their congregations. Where mission had previously been defined as “helping the less fortunate,” mission now meant “sending.”

In their experience, broad-based organizing provided a framework for living into God’s mission as it shifted the church from a maintenance culture to a relational culture. They spoke of the changes organizing had brought as their churches shifted from groups to actions, to having a higher accountability to outcomes and results, and from doing one thing from eight different directions instead of doing eight different things superficially. They closed with a challenging question: What would need to happen in your church to begin to shift you from a culture of maintenance to a relational culture of action? I’m guessing one thing for sure would need to happen: the Spirit would need to come…

We concluded the day gathering around the table. Literally. Everyone got up and out of the pews and gathered (as Jeff Krehbiel put it, “by gather we mean crowd”) all around the Lord’s Table in the center of the sanctuary. There several elders from Pilgrims church, along with their pastors, led us in the communion liturgy of word and song and then shared the elements among us all. After sharing the communion, we all gathered in a large circle and held hands as we sang the John Bell hymn:

“Take, O take me as I am;
Summon out what I can be;
Set your strength upon my heart and live through me.”

Speaking for myself, it was a great and grand day to share with disciples of Jesus. I left refreshed, renewed, and fed – both body and soul. I left hopeful for the NEXT church. For, indeed, the Spirit had come. And I am confident that the Spirit, just as Jesus promised, will come again.


smith cobbsStephen Smith-Cobbs is one of the pastors of Trinity Presbyterian in Herndon, VA. He is a native Texan and graduate of Austin College in Sherman, Texas and Princeton Theological Seminary. Before coming to Trinity in 1997, he pastored two congregations in Texas. His current ministry passions include “what unites us as followers of Jesus Christ and what it means for us to be the church in the 21st century.”

Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple… Re-writing the Rhyme

by Ashley-Anne Masters

Here is the church smallA little rhyme I learned as a child goes like this, “Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people.” There are hand gestures to go along with it to up the dexterity ante: Face hands toward each other. Lock fingers together facing down. Hold both index fingers straight up against each other. Fold thumbs inward against each other. The index fingers make the steeple, thumbs the doors, and other fingers the people inside. When the thumbs separate they represent opening the church doors to look at the people inside.

At the NEXT conferences in Indianapolis and Dallas I heard much talk of wanting what’s next for the church to include hospitality, people of all ages, and sustaining life instead of attempting to prevent death. I’m in favor of all those, and have learned about the impact of all three from sitting in the pews instead of standing the pulpit lately.

One of the realities I’ve come to appreciate about not currently receiving a paycheck from a church is that do not have to arrive early on Sundays. As part of my self-guided continuing education while seeking a call, I intentionally show up 5-10 minutes late to worship services at various churches.  I do this to experience how visitors and/or latecomers are treated. In some churches I’ve been pleasantly surprised and in others I’ve been offended when I did not receive a bulletin and nobody passed me any peace.  As clergy, I happen to know insider language and cues, but if I didn’t, I might feel awkward even in the friendliest congregations.

A few Sundays ago I arrived at my scheduled 11:06 to the church I most frequently attend. I walked up the steps with two women whom I did not know. We entered the narthex and were greeted by closed doors to the sanctuary. The women looked at me and said, “This is our first time here. Do you think it’s alright to open the doors or are we too late?” I jokingly made a comment about how people come to this service up until 11:45 and opened the doors for them. Once inside we were given bulletins, and I walked with them to an open pew so they wouldn’t feel alone walking down the long aisle.

The doors of the sanctuary were likely closed because it was a crisp, breezy, fall day and someone didn’t want the sanctuary to get drafty. For all practical purposes that makes perfect sense, too. But I can’t help but wonder if those two women would have turned away had someone more familiar with that congregation not been there when they arrived. Would they have opened the doors? Would they have tried again another Sunday? Who knows, but I do know that closed doors, even for good reasons, do not send the message that this is a gateway into life, hope, and hospitality.

As I settled in to my seat next to the two women, the childhood rhyme was on repeat in my head. Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people. The problem with that is not that the church is a building with a steeple, doors, and people. It’s that someone on the outside of the potentially intimidating sanctuary has to open the doors to see the people inside.

I’d like to receive a paycheck from a church again, and I live in a city with a serious winter season, so I’m not about to suggest we remove all doors from all church buildings. I say we rotate the hinges, leave the sanctuary doors open, and let the Spirit blow where it will. I realize that practically speaking it may mean leaving our light jackets on while seated in the pews, but I consider that a small price to pay for hospitality. Let’s just make sure we aren’t layered in Members Only jackets, as insider language is not welcoming, nor are we the church of the 1980’s.

While we’re at it, let’s tweak the rhymes we teach our children. “Here is the church. Here is the steeple. The doors are wide open to welcome all people.”


AAM Headshot

Ashley-Anne Masters is a freelance writer and pediatric chaplain in Chicago, IL. She is the author of Holding Hope: Grieving Pregnancy Loss During Advent and co-authored Bless Her Heart: Life as a Young Clergywoman with Stacy Smith. She blogs at revaam.org. 

What’s NEXT: From the Pew to the Pulpit

This summer, we are inviting leaders and participants from the 2012 gathering to share what they’ve been thinking about or working on since Dallas. Where are we seeing seeds of the NEXT Church? What ideas are taking root?

The following was submitted by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

Emily, one of the elders at the church I serve, took it upon herself to design new and updated welcome cards to be placed in the pews for the benefit of Sunday morning visitors. These stylish index cards included a picture of our small sanctuary nestled in the middle of farmland and listed a few of our activities. But Emily did not stop there. For everyone in attendance, there is a “Pew to the Pulpit” card that serves as a means to alert the pastor and elders about pastoral care needs, such as hospitalizations and deaths. There is also space to indicate a desire to volunteer for a committee or request a pastoral visitation. Finally, there are blanks spaces to ask questions about the service and indicate preferences for worship, including sermon topics and hymn selections.

In Dallas, I led a workshop about best worship practices based upon what I’ve learned from the input of my congregation. Through our discussion, we moved beyond the tired, old “worship wars” and shared ways to make the experience of worship reverent, joyful, inspirational, and thought-provoking. The key discovery was that changes in the service should come from the bottom up, rather than from the top down–from the pew to the pulpit. As preachers and worship leaders, we fill our sanctuaries with words week after week. But it is also instructive to listen: to let the people speak and be intentional about offering opportunities for feedback. It seems to me that the NEXT movement is about promoting such investment by congregations into the daily life of their worshipping community.


andrew ttAndrew Taylor-Troutman is a teaching elder at New Dublin Presbyterian Church, a congregation founded in 1769 in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia. He has written a book about his first year as their pastor, Take My Hand: A Theological Memoir. More information about the church and the book, including his blog, can be found at www.takemyhandmemoir.com.