On Saturday, December 3, the first Synodically Recognized Ministry and Authorized Lay Minister were welcomed into the Eastern Synod family!Read more →
“Let my spirit always sing, though my heart be wintering…”
2020 we were all thrown for a loop; one Sunday in church singing hymns and the next Sunday…nothing. Church buildings were closed and worship was adapted for an at home congregation. Resurrection, Halifax, went to Facebook live streaming and email church that included recorded hymns and sermons uploaded to the church YouTube channel. The worship team (my household) provided worship for the community. It filled a need, yet, felt empty without congregational responses and singing. I am a musician who experiences God through music. I felt empty and decided that I needed something more.
I started a daily lectionary reading and hymn of the day series (posted in FB group). Monday to Saturday I post the daily lectionary readings and a hymn that I’ve recorded and uploaded to the church YouTube channel. I began this for myself and for my church community. It didn’t take long to realize that other churches, pastors, and worship leaders were using the hymns. Resurrection received thank you emails and messages from worship leaders in Lutheran congregations across the US, Canada, and a few from overseas. I was surprised, humbled, and overjoyed that this small ministry project grew into a well-used resource.
The project fostered new relationships. My two favourite:
A person named Rusty Edwards asked to join Resurrection’s Facebook group. Rusty Edwards is a Baptist minister in Halifax. Rusty made comments on Facebook appreciating hymn interpretations. I realized that this was not the Baptist minister, but, rather, the prolific hymn composer. Rusty sent me some of his hymns to produce video in my musical style. I use a Yamaha CVP 905 with hundreds of different musical accompaniments. My style varies including: rock, pop, classical, jazz, soul, R&B, Blues, country, and dance music. Based on comments, 99% enjoy church hymns in a unique style, while 1% ask, “Why I’ve ruined such a lovely hymn?”
Resurrection was introduced to the All Creation Sings hymnal, using the hymns as preludes, pew editions to be purchased later. A month into this project we received an e-mail from a retired Lutheran minister in Pennsylvania asking, “how many books for your pews?” Fifty books arrived as a thankyou for being included in the online worshiping community. A wonderful surprise!
It’s been 2 1/2 years of pandemic living.
Regular in-person worship services continue to include live stream. YouTube videos are recorded and support email worship. Churches are offering hybrid worship. There continues to be a need for online church hymns and (by request of users) embedded words for watchers to sing along. The music ministry project has once again grown. I have created a new YouTube channel (Tim McNabb- Lutheran Church musician) that makes it easier to find hymns for the next four Sundays. The channel has playlists of the hymn suggestions from Augsburg Fortress’, Sundays and Seasons.
I am thankful that pandemic living has encouraged me to hone and share the gifts God has given me. I am thrilled that hope and God’s love has spread and continues to be spread through music!
“…God to whom my days belong, let there always be a song.” – Hymn 1020, All Creation Sings
Heinrich Schütz, (1585-1672), the greatest Lutheran musician before J.S. Bach is commemorated in the Lutheran calendar on July 26, along with J.S. Bach and George Frederick Handel. The 350th anniversary of Schütz’s death (November 6, 1672) has sparked a mini-renaissance of Schütz’s music around the world and in Canada. Read more about the cross-Canada offerings here: https://schuetzfest350.ca/
Schütz’s vast musical legacy is almost exclusively sacred choral music and includes settings of many psalms, other scripture, the first German requiem, and exquisite settings of the Christmas and Easter stories. Schütz lived and composed during the Thirty Years War and several outbreaks of the plague. Many of the 350th anniversary concerts are making the connection with war and the pandemic in our time.
In the Eastern Synod there are several Schützfest 350 events in Southwestern Ontario on the November 4-6 weekend and in Toronto on the November 11-13 weekend.
Schütz’s requiem, or Musikalische Exequien is the centrepiece of concerts by the Nota Bene Players and Singers and the U of T Theatre of Early Music in Dundas, Waterloo, Hanover, and Toronto. Other concerts in Toronto feature Jonathon Adams, the first Indigenous artist-in-residence at the U of T Faculty of Music, Capella Intima, the Gallery Players of Niagara and the Toronto Chamber Choir.
A reconstructed Lutheran service from Schütz’s time as Kapellmeister in Dresden will take place at St. George’s Lutheran Church, Toronto, 11:00 am, Sunday, Nov 13, with members of the U of T Schola Cantorum performing sacred music by Schütz within the liturgy. Free-will offering. This service will be livestreamed on the St. George’s Lutheran Church YouTube channel, and the link will be posted on https://schuetzfest350.ca/ and on https://www.st-georges-lutheran.com/
To purchase tickets or a Toronto Schützfest 350 festival pass please visit: https://schuetzfest350.ca/concerts
It all began with an idea at a Sunday morning coffee hour chat.
A few members of Zion Philipsburg Lutheran Church’s worship and music committee were discussing ways to reach out to lonely seniors in area retirement and long-term care homes during the second pandemic lockdown of 2021 last spring.
Given the need to change how congregations could still connect with each other, even in lockdown, required thinking outside of the box.
A simple card could let folks know that people were thinking about them, praying for them and sending their love, according to Pastor Leanne Darlington, Zion’s pastor.
“In reaching out to our members in long-term care by phone, I could hear and feel the loneliness in their voices. They needed to know that they have not been forgotten in all that was going on in our world, ” Darlington said.
And so the women set to work.
Facebook posts on the Wilmot Community page and the church’s Facebook page, as well as a church email, invited people to start by making cards for the residents of Nithview Home in New Hamburg, where some of the church’s members live.
Two online card-making evenings were held where the public was invited to join in learning how to make pop-up cards.
And the cards and even hand-drawn artwork by children started rolling in.
Generous donations were left in a porch drop-off box at the New Hamburg home of Zion member Susan Mills, as well as the storage box at the church – some 13 kilometres west of Waterloo – which was set up so members could pick up monthly newsletters and copies of sermons when the pandemic first hit.
A prayer for the residents to pray each day speaking of God’s love and presence in times of struggle, written by Darlington, was included in each card, along with words of hope and inspiration written by church and community members.
The prayer read:
“A prayer for you from your friends at Zion Lutheran Church Philipsburg.
Loving and Gracious God.
You are the Good Shepherd who cares for us day and night.
These pandemic times have been lonely and long.
We miss seeing our families and friends.
But in you O God, we know that we are never alone.
Help us to feel your presence and love in our hearts and keep us in your tender care.
An article on the project was published in the May 5 edition of The Wilmot Post, encouraging further donations from the community. The group’s initial goal of 180 cards for Nithview Retirement Home was easily surpassed and the project was extended to provide cards to other area nursing homes in Tavistock, Stratford, Listowel and Mitchell.
Other recipients included migrant workers at Pfenning’s Organic Farm in New Hamburg, whose hard work each season to provide food and students in the Philipsburg congregation who’d finished a difficult year of online learning due to the pandemic.
A Waterloo Vacation Bible School in Waterloo also featured the Philipsburg church’s pop-up card instructions in its week of online studies in the summer.
This is a summary of the 586 cards that were distributed by July 2021:
- 80 cards for Nithview retirement residents
- 100 cards for Nithview Long Term Care residents
- 70 cards for the residents of The Maples in Tavistock
- 85 cards for the residents of Greenwood Court apartments in Stratford
- 48 cards for the residents of Ritz Lutheran Villa in Mitchell
- 48 cards for the residents of Caressant Care in Listowel
- 28 cards for the youth at Zion Philipsburg
- 80 cards of encouragement to House of Friendship’s Charles Street Shelter, after a fire at Waterloo Inn where they were living.
Since then, members of Zion have continued their card-making efforts, sending some 130 Christmas cards to all long-term residents of Nithview Home in New Hamburg.
Another 125 were sent to Clair Hills Retirement Home in Waterloo, thanks to the efforts of fellow card makers Donna and Vivian Hodgin and their neighbour Nancy Crewson of Baden. The cards were set on each resident’s Christmas dinner plate when they sat down for their evening meal.
Another 100 cards were delivered to residents in long-term care in Riverbend Place in Cambridge. And 90 cards of Christmas cheer were sent to Greenwood Court in Stratford. That’s an additional 445 cards. Nearly 1,000 cards weresent out this past year.
The church is continuing to collect used calendars and greeting cards from the community for their next batch of card deliveries.
The Philipsburg card-makers encourage other churches – big or small – to take up similar efforts, saying that it is a great way to reach out to their communities and beyond, upcycle in the process and make complete strangers feel loved.
Mills summed it all up by thanking the community for its efforts.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who participated in this project by making homemade cards filled with messages of hope, caring and love, as well as those who donated cards and card supplies, coloured pages for the fronts of cards, attached prayers to the cards, delivered cards, and everyone who supported this project in any way,” she said. “Your efforts have made a positive impact in our community. Well done!“