Synagogue for Jewish seekers

For centuries, Jews have watched their rabbis show reverence to God during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur rites by doing a prostration at the front of the synagogue. This symbolic act takes place during the "Aleinu" prayer that reminds worshipers of their duty to "bend our knees, and bow down, and give thanks, before the Ruler, the Ruler of Rulers, the Holy One, Blessed is God." Rabbi Shira Stutman isn't sure how many people will accept her invitation to exit the pews and perform this … [Read more...]

Quiet Lutheran worship wars

If members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have heard it once, they've heard their national leaders repeat this mantra a thousand times: "This is not your grandfather's church." That's certainly what musician Phillip Magness experienced when he took a sabbatical at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., and began a research tour after the 2006 release of the Lutheran Service Book. Since he led the committee charged with promoting the new hymnal, Magness wanted to see what was … [Read more...]

McChurch history 101

In the beginning, revival preachers used their dynamic voices and dramatic sermons -- framed with entertaining gospel music -- to attract large crowds and to pull sinners into the Kingdom of God. This formula worked in weeklong revivals and, when tried, it started working in regular Sunday services. Big preachers drew big crowds and created bigger and bigger churches. Then along came the big media, which helped create a youth culture that exploded out of the 1950s and into the cultural … [Read more...]

FM radio reality in church

The clock is ticking and soon Jeff Crandall while face the challenge of selecting the right music for the Christmas services at High Desert Church.This will be tricky, because Christmas is what the 70-member staff at this megachurch calls a "federal" event. This means that these services will unite worshippers from the three radically different services that are held week after week at this booming congregation in Victorville, Calif., about 90 miles outside of Los Angeles."Christmas may be the … [Read more...]

Catholic choirs, alive or dead?

Lucy E. Carroll has never actually attended a Catholic Mass in which a cantor belted out, "He'll be coming 'round the altar when he comes! He'll be coming 'round the altar when he comes!" At least, that hasn't happened yet."I know that some people have used Stephen Foster music in a Mass," said the musical director at the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia. "I've heard about people using the melody from the waltz scene in 'Beauty and the Beast' for the 'Gloria.' And I've heard more than one … [Read more...]

Postmodern Celtic Baptists

The first thing people do after entering the quiet sanctuary is pause at a table to light prayer candles for friends and loved ones, the tiny flames adding to the glow of nearby candle trees.The ministers wear oat-colored, hooded robes tied at the waist with ropes and guide their flock through ancient prayers, a litany of confession and silent meditations marked by a series of bells. Hymns are accompanied by an ensemble that includes fiddle, acoustic guitar, wind chimes, pennywhistles, a Bodhran … [Read more...]

Edgy Orthodoxy 4 Seekers

One of the Rev. Dwight Moody's favorite perks as dean of the Georgetown College chapel is that he is free to spend most Sundays exploring other churches in Lexington, Ky.That's how the Baptist preacher ended up in St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Church in a cloud of incense, trying to figure out what the worshippers were chanting, why they rarely sat down and when the 9 o'clock service was going to end so that the 10 o'clock service could begin.Everything was a mystery."When the main service … [Read more...]


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