It has been far too long since I've been in contact with everyone on this list, but a great deal has happened in the last year and half. I left my position at Trinity Lutheran in Moorhead, went to work creating a new ministry, and moved to Minneapolis. It's been a whirlwind. Here are the details…
Over the years many pastors and congregational leaders have contacted me looking for musicians to fill available positions. They were often hoping to find people with skills across a diverse repertoire who also have some theological sensibilities and historical perspective. The list of candidates fitting this description has been frustratingly short. Furthermore, none of our ELCA colleges or seminaries has been able to adapt or create the kind of broad-based church music training program that I think the church really needs.
It is in this context that we are creating The Center for Worship & Music Studies through a partnership of ELCA synods. Minneapolis Area, Southwestern MN, and South Dakota have each given their blessing, guidance, and financial support to get this ministry off the ground, (or perhaps ON the ground?). Biblical and theological studies, training in musical and worship leadership skills, management, and exposure to a broad range of repertoire will all be part of what we offer. This will happen in an atmosphere of mutual support, collaboration, and a genuine embrace of ALL the gifts of God's people. Please take a look at our Mission Statement/Practices/Core Values document and read about the members of the task force that crafted it.
Classes will be offered beginning in the fall of 2015 and will be available both through face-to-face and distance learning. Students who complete the core curriculum (currently being designed) will receive a certificate. However, anyone wishing to build capacity in a specific area of interest will be able to enroll for a single class or an intensive. All of our offerings will qualify for continuing education credits for rostered leaders in our three partner synods and, we expect, in many others. We also expect to have broad ecumenical participation.
In the meantime, we are writing curriculum, developing an online network for resourcing and support, building relationships in higher ed, becoming incorporated as an independent 501c3, and raising money. We've also got a couple of wonderful events scheduled for this fall. They are…
Agape, Rachel Kurtz, Jonathan Rundman, John Kerns (from Spirit Garage), and I are coming together for an amazing concert to benefit The Center for Worship and Music Studies. Join us at 3:00 on Sunday, November 2nd, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, MN, and help get this much-needed ministry off the ground. The concert will feature individual performance by all five artists, plus we'll come together for your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear us play as an eclectic Lutheran SUPER GROUP. Get more info, directions, download a poster to print, and buy tickets online here.
COMPOSING MUSIC FOR THE CONGREGATION
This one-day workshop is Saturday, November 8th, at Augustana College in Sioux Falls will include presentations by Larry Olson (Dakota Road), me, Susan Palo Cherwein, and live via video conference, Ken Medema. Participants can submit their own work ahead of time, some of which will be preselected and shared at the end of the conference. Go to this page to get more details, download the brochure, and register online.
I do not intend to commandeer this Baytone Music mailing list for The Center for Worship & Music Studies. That's not what you signed up for. However, I hope that you'll sign up for that list, too. We would love to hear the great ideas you might have for how we can effectively serve congregations and prepare musicians and other worship leaders for dynamic and imaginative ministry.
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This site will continue to operate as it has. Thanks for your interest and patronage.
God's peace!… Jay Beech