This segment of the A People So Bold DVD explores how worship, particularly its musical and ritual elements, can inspire and sustain our work for justice.
Materials and Preparation
- A People So Bold DVD
- DVD player, TV/screen, and speakers
- Chalice, candle, and matches
- Copies of your congregation’s hymnals
- Copies of Singing the Living Tradition (if it’s not your congregation’s hymnal)
- Invite the participation and leadership of a song leader for part D, Conclusion—ask that person to come prepared to teach the group a justice-related song
Time: 50-75 minutes
A. Chalice Lighting
Welcome participants. Recruit a volunteer to light the chalice, and at least one other person to read responsive reading 441 with you.
Offer responsive reading 441 from Singing the Living Tradition as the volunteer kindles the flame.
B. Grounding & Transformative
Introduce the segment by asking:
How can worship help ground or guide us in our work for social justice?
Listen to some ideas and examples from participants. Explain:
This segment of the video explores the ways that the musical and ritual elements of worship can help us grow, change, and work for a better world.
Introduce the video’s next speaker, Annaease Hastings (see biography in Appendix A.)
Show the "Worship" segment of the video, pausing at 3:15.
- What songs hold you in hard times?
- What hymns hold your commitment to justice?
- What is your congregation’s most powerful experience of music as a transformative force?
In response to the first two questions, invite participants to share titles or lines from songs and hymns that inspire and ground them. Though these need not be songs that have been sung in your congregation, you may make hymnals accessible to participants to find the songs that move them.
In response to the third question, invite participants to reflect not only on the most powerful music they’ve heard in the congregation, but also on that music’s transformative effect.
In the video, Meg Riley mentions web resources on cultural misappropriation.
C. Ritual & Power
This part of “Worship” discusses the meaning of ritual and the culture that surrounds it. You may wish to introduce the speakers, Rob Hardies, Rebecca Ann Parker, Dan McKanan, and Jill Schwendeman. (See biographies in Appendix A.)
Watch the video and pause at 10:30.
- What rituals of transformation does your congregation do well for children, youth, and adults?
- How does worship help create a people so bold?
Invite participants to consider these questions in silence before sharing. During the sharing, encourage participants not to get too hung-up on the words “do well.” Some in the congregation might think the annual Coming-of-Age Sunday is done well, others might disagree. The value of the discussion is in discerning how transformation happens: how we let ritual reach us and change us.
If you feel skilled at leading rituals, you may wish to conclude by offering a brief ritual, such as a blessing of hands, that empowers participants to work for justice.
Conclude with the group learning and singing a song that can inspire justice work. (You may have engaged a song leader other than yourself for this purpose.)