The worship of the Christian community, properly understood and done, leads those who worship to act out the love of God in their lives. This forms the very heart of our worship. Worship also provides the sustenance that makes the Christian style of living possible. In turn, this style of living drives those who are committed to it back to the worship of God, to find forgiveness and strength.
Thus, the Church believes that all its member should be led to a full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations. As Episcopalians in the Anglican tradition, we subscribe to the principle, Lex orandi, lex credendi (loosely translated, “We believe as we pray”). As such, the call to a full and conscious participation is not merely a convenience but is the right and duty of every Christian. This right and duty emerges from our baptism and is expressed in the baptismal covenant when we are asked: “Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?” and we respond, “I will, with God’s help.” That help comes from the parish community when we offer “our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice” to the Lord (BCP 334).
Moreover, worship is given increased dignity when it is celebrated in song, with ministers (lay and clerical) fulfilling their respective roles and the whole congregation participating. Through liturgical music, prayer is enhanced, the mystery of the liturgy is more openly shown, and the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved as we join our voices together. This helps us to raise our minds more easily to heavenly things because of the beauty the surrounds us. When we worship “in Spirit and in Truth,” we begin to prefigure the heavenly liturgy which, as we see through the vision of the prophets as the heavenly Jerusalem – the throne room of our God. For us, then, worship and music are inextricably linked and are mutually supportive. The Parish has set the following goals regarding Worship and Music:
Long Range Goals:
- The parish will act to establish itself as a Center for Excellence in Worship and Music in the region.
- The parish will explore the possibility of establishing a county-wide choir school for youth.
- The parish will broadcast its worship services using available technologies (e.g. “live-streaming”) on a regular basis.
Short Range Goals:
- The parish will provide a parish-wide opportunity for an in-depth study of worship using a “one parish, one book” format where we all share in a parish wide study of our worship.
- The parish will recruit at least two candidates for the role of verger and employ resources available through The Vergers Guild of the Episcopal Church for training.
- The parish will re-organize its worship committee to reflect its renewed charter and the insights of the parish-wide study.
- The parish will engage a consultant to determine what hardware, software, and infrastructure is necessary to establish and maintain a high quality, internet-based broadcast of its worship services.
- The parish will periodically host worship and music training opportunities in partnership with the Diocese of Bethlehem, the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, and the Stevenson School for Ministry.
- The parish will empower a Task Group to explore the establishment of a county-wide choir school. The Task Group will report findings to Vestry (2018).