Quarterly Newsletter

May 2022

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Letter from the Board President

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Eric Wall

Friends,

 

Here we are in the midst of Easter: fifty days that begin liturgically at Holy Saturday’s sundown, when the Great Vigil of Easter unfolds with reading after reading, threading a grand tapestry of witness to God’s work. Here at Austin Seminary, one of our student chapel assistants brought her children to our Vigil (all three hours of it); she told us afterwards that when she asked her kids what they experienced, one of them said that they liked the way it told the story from the beginning. That response feels worth holding on to: a story told from the beginning.  Here we are in the midst of Easter: a story of new life, told from an against-all-odds beginning, not yet finished.

 

Told from the beginning, of course, by the women who were the first witnesses: witnesses whose First Day practices brought them to a place of ritual that became an Encounter. That Encounter was with new life, and while there is wonder and joy, the Biblical accounts are also full of tears, fears, disbelief, locked doors—a far cry from the fanfares and fortes common in our Easter worship. What music was in the souls of the women who first saw the risen Jesus?

 

Two works might kindle imagination. One is Indígena, a 1991 chamber work by Tania León, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music. It is astounding: hushed, loud, fierce, serene, energetic. It speaks and it demands hearing. It’s not hard to imagine that the women at the tomb felt—and spoke—in these ways during and after their Encounter. The other work is Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1938 Andante for Strings. It is a four-minute kind of slow-burn de profundis: keening, yowling, bleak, agonized. The women probably knew music like this: approaching a tomb in grief, meeting Jesus with wonder and tears, speaking gospel to doubtful men, coming home from the tomb to a strutting, toxic, bellicose world and its oppressive, death-dealing grip.

 

In the midst of this Easter, I think of Hymn 7 in Glory to God: “Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth.” It is Jean Janzen’s luminous 1991 poetic rendering from the writings of Julian of Norwich, English anchoress of the Middle Ages. Carolyn Jennings’s wonderful tune, NORWICH, is not the only tune created for these words; but let us now praise the hymnal committee for choosing this one as the anchor for this text. What is it about this hymn, found in the hymnal’s Trinity section, yet possessing an Easter brightness and quietness? Maybe it’s the plainness of one-syllable words, soft and precise: bright, wind, rain, sun, grape, grain, arms, root, grow. Maybe it’s that tender, stately tune: a slow and elegant perichoresis (see Hymn 9 for more on that word). Maybe it’s the transcendent ending: until I flower, until I know. In the midst of this Easter—and these bleak days—God, with arms of patience, reaches to us. She tells us that flowering is not yet done.

 

This time of year, in our work in the church, past-present-future flowering may be on our minds. In the congregation I previously served and now at the seminary, I’ve always felt a certain something in this midst-of-Easter season—you probably do too. There’s the great exhale in recalling the past year’s journey: all the work and music and rehearsing and calendars and congregational life. There is also a freshly-quiet space, when what’s ahead seems to wait a bit, giving us time. We need this time, when there are more moderatos than allegros, more conversations than meetings; where the back-pocket, low-practice postlude is not merely enough but newly abundant; and where there is time for gratitude, breath, imagination. I hope that you are finding, in the midst of Easter’s Fifty Days, this space and time.

 

Speaking of what lies in store: there are less than fifty days till the Worship and Music Conference. If you’re not yet registered, let your fingers do the clicking on the PAM website. This year’s conference, “In the Stranger’s Guise,” is co-directed by Krista Wright and Marlon Hurst. The Montreat mountains await your voices – whether in-person or online, we hope to see you there!

 

Also in store: Sally Ann McKinsey’s work as the new editor of Call to Worship will bless our paths ahead. PAM’s Regions and partnerships, so tirelessly spearheaded by Kelly Abraham, aren’t just coming your way—they’re going to be where you are. And we’re thrilled to welcome officers to the PAM Board: President-Elect Emily Floyd, continuing Board Secretary Beth Parler, and Members-at-Large Kaitlyn Davros and Brian Lew. More flowering awaits PAM!

 

If, as part of looking ahead, you’re looking for summer reading, here are two suggestions (on my mind from use this past semester in a worship class). One is Sanctifying Art, by Deborah Sokolove—a wonderful exploration of art, faith, and liturgy. The other is by our beloved Kim Long: The Worshiping Body: the Art of Leading Worship. It’s written for pastors and presiders, which means that every church musician should read it. It’s about eyes and ears and mouth and hands and feet and heart—the musician’s equipment no less than the pastor’s.

 

So—as, against all odds, we live, move, and have being in these Easter days:

Let us now praise the voices and leaders whose eyes, ears, mouths, hands, feet, and hearts preach us the gospel of peace.

Let us now bless the presiders, musicians, ringers, children, youth, and all who’ll be at our conference.

Let us now celebrate the music we just finished and the music that yet needs practicing.

Let us now encourage each other in this precious work of worship.

Let us now pray for this weary world. 

 

And while we’re at it, let us now and above all else praise a Parenting, Uncle-ing, Aunt-ing, Rearing, Nursing, Table-Setting, Meal-Preparing, Tear-Wiping, Lullaby-Singing, Bed-Tucking, Dawn-Calling, Door-Knocking, Tough-Loving, World-Opening, Trans-cending God who promises new life for Easter’s Fifty Days—and the Fifty-First, and the Fifty-Second, and the Fifty-Third, and…

 

 

Peace,

 

Eric

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Report from the Executive Director

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Kelly Abraham

Friends,

 

Two months before COVID turned our world upside down, the PAM Board created a new mission which states that PAM believes that formative and collaborative experiences with God and neighbor nurture relationships and create community. One of the three primary goals of the PAM Board set in January 2020 to live into its mission was to strengthen collaboration among partner organizations. The Board identified several strategies to achieve this goal including:

  1. Build relationships with partner organizations, universities, and seminaries to collaborate on worship for events, to mentor students, pastors, & musicians, and learn ways PAM can be a resource to these respective partners.

  2. Partner with Office of Christian Formation to provide resources to the denomination.

  3. Continue to lift up Call to Worship Lectionary Aids and thematic issues as primary worship planning resources for the PC(USA).

So what have we done since January 2020, to achieve this goal?

First, we have established multiple partnerships with organization in and outside of the PC(USA) to collaborate with events, ministries, and initiatives.

 

1. We have partnered with Stewardship Kaleidoscope to collaborate, design, and lead the worship services at the 2022 Stewardship Kaleidoscope in Savannah, Georgia. Anne and Bill McNair are directing the worship planning team that include members of the Stewardship Kaleidoscope planning team, musicians, preachers, and artists. We are excited to lead opening and closing worship in September.

2. We have, once again, partnered with PC(USA)’s Financial Aid for Service to provide 2022 PAM memberships and online Worship & Music Conference registrations for all pastors in their first call. If someone you know, has been ordained in 2021 or 2022 and is serving in their first call, please email their information to our First Call Pastor Team at pam@pcusa.org. One caveat, because this gift is from PC(USA)’s Financial Aid for Service, this gift is only eligible to PC(USA) pastors.

3. In April, we partnered with the Choir of School of Delaware to sponsor their inaugural Bent, But Not Broken Conference – a four-day music conference amplifying the musical contributions and accomplishments of Black artists across time and genres. We are hopeful this is the beginning of a long-term relationship as we work to increase transformative experiences with God through intentional diversity in leadership and style.

 

4. Also in April, PAM entered a partnership with Rider University (Westminster Choir College) to offer all PAM members and immediate family members (under the age of 24) a 20% tuition discount. Interested PAM members should contact bursar@rider.edu for more information.

5. PAM has partnered with St. Olaf College to support and promote its 2022 Conference on Worship, Theology & the Arts. PAM is sponsoring a Spotlight Session led by former PAM Board member, John Sall, and will host a regional gathering for all PAM members in attendance from the North Central and Great Lakes PAM regions. 

6. In 2021, PAM partnered with the PC(USA)’s Office of Christian Formation to create five QuickSheets on an annual basis. The purpose of Quicksheets is to explore topics and provide content around music, prayer and worship as Christian Formation in different contexts and across all ages. PAM’s Quicksheets may be found at https://www.presbymusic.org/town-hall. The Educational Resources Committee will create five new Quicksheets in 2022. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Rev. Michael Waschevski, committee chair.

7. In an effort to continue to promote Call to Worship Lectionary Aids and thematic issues as the primary worship planning resources for the PC(USA), we launched the 2022 Town Hall Forum series, in January. The entire upcoming schedule and previous event recordings can be found a https://www.presbymusic.org/town-hall

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Second, we are grateful to have received the support of 34 organizations in 2022, thus far, in the form of grants, advertising, and/or conference sponsorships. These are organizations who share our values and provide support to you, our members. While some of their financial contributions help to promote their organizations, it also helps to sustain PAM.  Ten of these organizations will be present at this summer’s Worship & Music Conference in Montreat, online (via sponsor webpages) and in-person in the exhibit hall. If you are going to be attending this summer’s Worship & Music Conference, I ask you to visit with them in their exhibit space. They are coming to Montreat to support you and your ministry.

 

They are

We believe that each of the above partnerships and/or collaborations will provide formative and collaborative experiences with God and neighbor to nurture relationships and create community. And we pray that you will find these to be valuable resources to help you to lead your congregations and to glorify God in all that you do.

With gratitude,

Kelly Abraham
Executive Director

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2021 Annual Report

Last month, the PAM Board presented the 2021 Annual Report at the PAM Annual Meeting. If you were unable to attend the meeting, read the report here.

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2022 Worship & Music Conference

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In-Person or Online, There Is Still Time to Register!

The on-time registration period ends May 19th and the rates will increase. Register for the conference before May 19th! 

A few highlights to look forward to:

 

  1. Regional gatherings: The Great Lakes, Mid South, South Central, and South Atlantic Regions will be hosting a gathering for folks who reside within the Region. The gatherings will take place at Montreat, both weeks of the conference, Wednesday at 6:30pm.

  2. Member & Donor Beer & Hymns: Members and donors of PAM are invited to the first Beer & Hymns Reception at the Black Mountain Ale House Tuesday, June 21 or 28 at 8:30pm. It is sure to be a great time! 

  3. Conversations at the Huck: Meet up with Eric Wall, Mark Kemp, Kelly Abraham, Sally Ann McKinsey, Karrie Rushing, and Bill Davis at Montreat's Huckleberry Cafe for conversation about various aspects and programs of PAM. Specific days and times of these conversations will be announced during the conference.

So... what are you waiting for? Sign up for the conference today.

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From the Development Committee

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Give using the QR Code or the button below.

This summer we look forward to experiencing the wonder on the western North Carolina mountains while soaking in the wisdom of being in community together. For over fifty years PAM Conferences have been nurturing the faith of children, youth, and adults – equipping them to be life-long leaders, musicians, and participants in worship.

 

Each summer at the Worship and Music Conferences over 1,500 conferees spend a week in daily worship, choir rehearsals, instrumental ensembles, bible classes, seminars, art workshops, fun and games, and more. The finest clinicians from around the country and the world teach worship leadership, vocal and instrumental music, liturgical art, and worship planning, as well as model deeply inspirational and meaningful worship.  It is, without question, faith formation through worship and music! 

 

Participants leave the conference equipped with expanded knowledge, a widened network of colleagues, and renewed inspiration to serve their home congregations. 

Your contribution to the PAM’s Annual Fund will support PAM’s operations which enables us to continue these life-giving programs, services, and resources for years to come.  In so many ways, PAM is a vital life-line to the worship of any congregation.  Please consider the impact your financial contribution will make and join us on this exciting journey by making a one time or recurring donation to the PAM annual fund.

 

It is only through our communal generosity that the wonder and wisdom of PAM can be shared with others as we continue to craft informative and collaborative experiences with God and neighbor that nurtures relationships and creates community.

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Save the Date: Member and Donor Reception

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Davis Flohr Matching Campaign

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First Call Pastors

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PAM is pleased to welcome a new class of pastors to the First Call Pastor Community!

 

Since 2020, PAM has, in partnership with the Office of Financial Aid for Service, extended membership and resources to those pastors who have been newly ordained, seeking to create community and conversation to support new leaders in the church.

This year we are pleased that all new Fist Call Pastors will receive the Call to Worship journal as well as complimentary online registration to the Worship and Music Conference.

All participants in this community are invited to an introductory gathering on Friday, May 20th, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Find out more about how PAM can be a resource for you as you begin your ministry.

For more information, contact Mark Kemp (MKempwpc@gmail.com).

 
 

Changes to Certification

The past several months have seen a flurry of activity within the PAM Certification Committee as the group considers changes both great and small to the process by which members become certified. Newly constituted and energized by the addition of several newcomers, the committee began a review of existing certification requirements early in the program year.

 

What started as an appraisal of the status quo quickly led to questions of a more philosophical nature: who should seek certification, and why? What are PAM’s goals for the program? How might we enhance the process such that certification yields greater benefits for those who obtain it?

 

These and a number of similar questions formed the basis of a request to PAM’s Executive Board for clarification, which was considered by that group at its in-person meeting on the campus of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary this past March. A significant outcome of the Board’s deliberations was the recommended streamlining of certification levels, effectively folding the previous three tiers (CCCM, CACM, CCM) into one.

 

Likewise, the Board affirmed the purpose of the program, which is to educate and equip our members for service within PAM and the broader church while simultaneously acknowledging the wisdom gained as a result of active participation in the work and mission of the organization.

 

With Summer approaching, there’s never been a better time to consider PAM Certification. Regular attendees to the annual Worship and Music Conference at Montreat may find they fulfill certain requirements simply by virtue of their participation in any number of classes and seminars held throughout the week. Click here to view the 2022 PAM Worship and Music offerings and look for the "PAM Cert" notation to see which offerings may be applied toward PAM Certification. 

 

Call to Worship

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Sally Ann McKinsey

Editor

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Dear PAM Members,

 

The next issue of Call to Worship: Lectionary Aids for Year A, 2022-2023, is now available! Along with the new issue, I also need to introduce myself, Sally Ann McKinsey, the new editor for future issues of Call to Worship. I am grateful to be working with all of you as we converse about worship and theology. I have previously served as a pastor in congregational settings and in collegiate ministry, and I also bring experience as an interdisciplinary artist. I live in Cookeville, Tennessee, where I also teach in the School of Art, Craft, & Design at Tennessee Tech University. 

 

I come to this work with great gratitude for editors, contributors, staff, and subscribers whose efforts have enlivened our theology and practice through this resource. I bring special admiration for Kimberly Bracken Long, whose discerning imagination has made the journal a space for investigating and interpreting liturgical theology and practice toward God’s desires for inclusion, justice, diversity, and wholeness. This new issue of the journal begins with Kim’s last editorial introduction, which includes many heartfelt acknowledgements. I’d like to take this opportunity to add an acknowledgement for Kim’s steadfast work, as well!

 

Even as we are deep in Revised Common Lectionary Year C, we hope this Lectionary Aids issue for the coming Year A will support you as you look ahead. It includes new liturgy, music, and art suggestions for each Sunday, as well as resources specific to each season and festival. Special thanks go to Phillip Morgan, Music Editor, and to contributors in the areas of liturgy, music, and visual art. Their gifts have produced a resource that seeks to be relevant for worshiping communities in many contexts.

 

May the liturgy, music, inspiration, and ideas in this issue connect you with others across the church as you plan and lead worship in 2022-2023. Many challenges await us in the next liturgical year. And yet we are not alone. May we proclaim this good news in word and song, with music and material. May we know it by heart: God meets us all along the way.

 

I am glad to be a conversation partner, so please contact me at sallyann.mckinsey@pcusa.org if you have questions or thoughts about the work of the journal.

 

Gratefully,

Sally Ann McKinsey

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Regions

The new South Atlantic Region will host its first event, next week on May 17th at 1:00pm ET.

A Conversation with the Outgoing and Incoming Editors of the Call to Worship Journal​

May 17, 2022 | 1:00pm Eastern  |  Zoom Webinar

The kickoff regional event for the new South Atlantic and Puerto Rico Region will be a conversation with Kim Long and Sally Ann McKinsey. They will be in conversation with us about our incredible PC(USA) lectionary resource, the Call to Worship Journal. They will give information about the Lectionary Aids, as well as the additional thematic issues, which are published throughout the year. 

Rev. Dr. Kimberly Bracken Long is the outgoing editor of Call to Worship, and Rev. Sally Ann McKinsey is the incoming editor. 

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These four Regions will host a regional gathering at the Worship and Music Conference.

The Great Lakes, Mid South, South Central, and South Atlantic Regions will be hosting a gathering for folks who reside within their Region to connect with one another.
 

The gatherings will take place at Montreat, both weeks of the conference, Wednesday at 6:30pm.

Great Lakes
Mid South
South Central
South Atlantic

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Town Hall Forum Series

September 8, 2022

"Why Baptism Matters for the Work of Dismantling Racism"

Claudia Aguilar Rubalcava

October 6, 2022

David Bjorlin

"Singing Around the Font"

November 3, 2022

Lisa Dahill

"Baptism, Clean Water, Equal Access"


Visit www.presbymusic.org/town-hall to view recordings of previous Town Hall Forums

 

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Rev. John Sawyer, Doctor of Ministry Student at Columbia Theological Seminary, explored the impact on the lived theology of congregational singing during the early parts of the Covid-19 pandemic in an article titled: "How Can I Keep From Singing: The Lived Theology of Congregational Song During the COVID-19 Pandemic." 

 

He explored the question: How did songs – sung at home through participation in online worship – make an impact on the faith lives and lived theology of a congregation in exile from the church building during the COVID-19 pandemic?