Preaching (P)

Preaching Financial Stewardship: Talkin’ about Money, Mammon, and Generosity (P1)

Leader: Danielle Ayana James

The preaching task explores all aspects of life, including money! It’s talk about economics, personal finances, and generous giving. It’s also about spiritual practice and discipleship. Join us for an exploration of the preaching task and its intersections with financial stewardship. Preaching content and form, Bible stories and case studies will be part of our roundtable workshop style. Come ready to share your ministry experiences of preaching financial stewardship.

Body: The Spirit’s Message Board (P2)

Leader: Jana Childers

Why do some sermons fly and others just dribble down the front of the pulpit and out into the aisle? What sources are there for preaching with passion, sincerity, and authenticity? How will preachers meet the peculiar needs of this spirit-hungry age? This is a workshop for all who preach and think of preaching as incarnational activity. We will explore spiritual practices and performance skills that connect the preacher’s body with the Spirit’s work. The use of three key disciplines—non-verbal communication skills, what preachers have traditionally called “the use of self,” and performance-as-exegetical-tool—will provide a focus for this hands-on experience.

Connect. Imagine. Reconnect. (P3)

Leader: Lauren Hodgson

Hodgson has subtitled her workshop “We’ve got something to say about youth, young adults, and worship” and suggests that those involved with youth worship will be especially interested in her workshop. Integrating arts, drama, and music, the group will be guided through a process to craft prayers, reflections, meditations, dance, music… the possibilities are endless! The outcome will be a number of specialty crafted worship pieces that participants can share in their home contexts. Hodgson warns: Being open to dreaming big is a pre-requisite of this workshop!


Music (M)

The Journey from Pipes to Praise: Empowering the Voice of Your Congregation (M1)

Leaders: Judy McKelvey and Scott MacAuley

Sparling United Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has moved from pipe organ to praise band; blue gowns to blue jeans; choir anthems to sung congregational responses. Within this movement we discovered the difference between music as presentation and reflection, and music as participation and an act of faith. In this workshop we will provide you with tools to create a balanced music experience in your congregation that reflects scripture, tradition, and faith regardless of whether you have a full choir or an aging hippie with a guitar. Why? Because we believe the greatest asset in energizing the church is found in the voices of the congregation, and with a few small voices great change can occur.

Music and Integration: Beyond Inclusion (M2)

Leader: Brenda Baker

With video and audio clips, Brenda Baker will begin by telling the story of her integrated choir’s development, its joys and challenges. She’ll explain how she helps children with different abilities work together to create a wonderful concert experience. The remaining hour will focus on applying these experiences to worship service content, Sunday school practises, choir development, and the potential for community partnerships.

Make a Joyful Noise! Music Leadership for the Church without a Music Director (M3)

Leader: Mary Kennedy

In this workshop participants will become familiar with a variety of resources to assist congregations to build a tradition of music for worship. Topics will include:

  1. How to teach a new song/hymn
  2. Rounds for worship
  3. The wealth of Taizé and Iona music
  4. Providing accompaniments
  5. The back-up group
  6. Copyright and LicenSing

Participants will be given a resource list in order to access materials used in the worship. They will also have plenty of practice singing!

Hymn Text Writers Practicum (M4)

Leader: Ruth Duck

This workshop provides an opportunity for writers of hymn texts to share an original text with other authors and to receive helpful feedback in a supportive and collegial atmosphere. Registrants may send up to two texts to Ruth Duck  for her to review ahead of time; one text per person will be chosen for sharing in the workshop (as time allows), and participants will receive written feedback for texts not discussed in the group.


Liturgy (L)

Death Matters: Planning a Spiritually Meaningful End of Life Service (L1)

Leader: Michael Caveney

End of life services, funerals, celebrations of life, and memorial services are important vehicles through which we can seek to say a meaningful goodbye to a loved one. How do we avoid services which don’t meet our spiritual needs and are not inspiring? How do we reach out to young people at these times? This is also a time when many who are not familiar with the customs or practices of the church are in our pews, presenting an excellent opportunity for us to reach out with the Good News. The workshop will look at pre-planning a service, the various types of practices and customs associated with services in the United Church, and how to encourage the move from traditional to more contemporary services that speak to people who do not usually attend the United Church.

Nurturing Spiritual Depth in Worship (L2)

Leader: Janice Springer

How can we design and lead worship that moves us from thinking about the Holy to encountering the Holy? How can our worship help us to know God, not just know about God? What does worship look like when it comes from a place of depth? Amidst today’s changes in church and culture, how does our worship address the yearning for a deeper spirituality? In this workshop, we’ll learn concrete, practical tools for designing worship that honours our thinking selves, but moves beyond that to our hearts, and even deeper to our souls where we encounter God and our truest selves. These tools can be integrated into traditional or contemporary worship styles, liberal or conservative theologies, large or small churches. They build on the strengths that our congregations already have. The tools are practical, but offer us something much deeper than techniques. Ministers, lay leaders, and worship committees will find resources here to deepen the worship experience at their church.

Embracing the Spirit in the Rural Church (L3)

Leader: Jordan Cantwell

This will be a facilitated conversation for folk who are looking for ideas to enhance their ministry in rural congregations. How do we adapt urban-oriented resources for use in country churches? What unique opportunities do smaller congregations open up for preaching, worship, and ministry? Where do we find spiritual, social, and emotional support? Come share your questions, your ideas, your success stories…and re-ignite your hopes and visions for vibrant rural ministry in your corner of the world.

What Happens at Children’s Time in Worship (L4)

Leaders: David Kim-Cragg and HyeRan Kim-Cragg

In most United Church congregations, there is a children’s time during the Sunday service. This time is dedicated to encouraging children to participate in worship in ways that help them to grow in faith. However, this time poses challenges to worship leaders in part because our worship is heavily focused on adults. The brief time with children is often not the focus for much consideration, and ministers can be tempted to entertain rather than educate, and the congregation is sometimes content to tokenize rather than listen and engage with the children. How can children’s time be used in ways that are worship-full, engaging, and meaningful, and create teachable moments? While exploring this question, our workshop introduces a couple of stories that were written for liturgical celebrations including Pentecost. The workshop will share reflections on “how to” tell the story by hearing the story and discussing the theological and pedagogical implications.

Creating a Worship Space: Speaking Interiors (L5)

Leader: Beth Walker

We live in a visual world filled with signs and symbols that speak to us every day, so church aesthetics play an important role creating positive environments or vehicles for communication. Aesthetics express visions that are beyond the capacity of words to convey and provide a medium for enlightenment that promotes exploration, imagination, and cultural and historical understanding. Exploring our sacred story through the visual opens us to the emotional dimensions of our experiences of worship. Church aesthetics can shape the way we talk about our sacred story allowing us to explore critical issues and to formulate visions of the future—both for the artists and their audiences. In this workshop we will provide you with some tools to create “speaking interiors.”

Curating Worship (L6)

Leader: Jonny Baker

When asked to define “curating worship,” Baker explains that it is “the process of pulling together a creative worship event/service/experience with a team.” In his workshop, Baker will draw on some of the “creative edges” that teams he has worked with have discovered work well in designing worship that excites, comforts, and inspires.

Using Technology in Worship: Praise, Prayers, and Projection (L7)

Leader: Trisha Little

This workshop will cover the basics in creating a service using PowerPoint (or Keynote for Mac computers), resources available for projection, and copyright information. Trisha Little points out that her workshop will be a starting point—there is always more to learn!

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