Worship Matters Sudbury (October 17 & 18, 2008)

Choirs! Worship Committees and Leaders! Come Celebrate! Come Learn!
Worship Matters 2008 comes to
Manitou Conference October 17-18, 2008

This time of expanding technologies and a shrinking global village calls for the church to be relevant and stimulating to younger generations and an increasingly diverse population. “Worship Rhythms in a Time of Spin” is an exciting symposium that will offer us new ways to engage and tell the old stories in the context of worship. Aimed at lay and ordered worship leaders and musicians, this two-day event in Sudbury will support and enrich already diverse gifts in our northern churches. In planning the event the team has been aware of the realities of northern ministry, the cultural make-up of our communities, our varied leadership, our small and large congregations, and multiple learning styles of congregants. There will be something for everyone here.

Over two days, participants will enjoy the leadership of our theme presenter, Dr. Michael Hawn, from Southern Methodist University. Author of Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally, Dr. Hawn brings a wealth of knowledge and theological insight, and leads music and worship with vigour and a “vision of the universal church where young and old joyfully and thoughtfully respond to the movement of God’s spirit.” Participants will also choose four of eight workshops: Holy Murmurs-What Makes Vital Prayer; Cultural Diversity in Worship; Do We Really Need Sermons?; Welcoming Ministries in Worship; Moving with the Spirit; Tech, Teens, and Liturgy; Visual Art in Worship; and iWorship: Worshiping Visually through Culture, Art, Technology and Metaphor. Several worship services held at the symposium will put into practice some of the workshop concepts; the Friday evening worship will be open to the public. Book and music displays will operate during the event. More detailed information will accompany registration.

In 2003, the United Church developed a national Worship Matters symposium “to identify ways to animate life-transforming worship in local congregations.” Since their inception, these conferences have been most enjoyed; we are fortunate now to be hosting, here in Manitou, the first regional symposium. Travel time will be manageable for most people and the registration reasonable at $110 (+$20 for Friday banquet). There is a financial incentive for early registration.

Accommodation is the responsibility of participants. Worship Matters! – Put this event on your church calendar NOW and register soon at www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/events/worshipmatters/sudbury

You will be fully engaged-—body, mind, and soul. Don’t miss this chance to refresh your spirit and enliven the worship in your local congregation.

Worship does truly matter! Why you should register now for Worship Matters 2008 Sudbury?

The Worship Matters event has changed from a national event to a regional event and it’s coming to Sudbury! The opportunity to celebrate and worship as a national church is one that SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. I think it is important for us to realize that “Worship Matters” is more than the name of an event. Anyone who worships regularly knows the importance of worship and realizes that Worship does truly Matter. This event brings that message home without question or reservation for everyone attending.

Having the good fortune to attend Worship Matters in 2005 in Halifax; was a humbling, motivating and awe inspiring experience. What do I remember most about the experience? Let me tell you some of the thoughts that are best remembered:

Above all, the music was what I remember most. While I am not a musician, nor a singer, the music was without a doubt the most memorable aspect of the event. The music there validated a comment I have heard on several occasions, when the United Church gather they know how to sing. The music is modern, it is traditional, it is vibrant, it is uplifting – it is awesome beyond words. The United Church is so blessed to have the caliber of musicians who produce this great mix of music that can meet such a diverse range of interests.

The opening worship service: I cannot think of any time in my life when I so strongly felt the presence of God in worship. There were many thin places there, where one could commune with people of like mind in the presence of the Provider.

During that opening worship when we sang hymns I thought that the collective voices were going to blow the roof off St Andrew’s, that wonderful, beautiful old church. Chills tingled up and down my spine, and still do at times when I recall that evening.

Where else but in this United Church could a homeless man from Halifax’s Brunswick Street mission and the pastors of some of Canada’s most prestigious churches share equally in a theological discussion?

First Nations celebrations to honour the Creator were experiences that make one appreciate how the diversity within our church can be honoured and celebrated with dignity and with respect.

I have often participated in events where equality was celebrated, this was the first time where everyone was genuinely treated as an equal and everyone treated one and other with an unequaled respect.

Workshops were diverse and dynamic; information was freely given and shared in every session.

Drama, music, preaching, diversity, openness, and camaraderie – this event had it all.

I will be attending Worship Matters in Sudbury!

John Fraser

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