2013 ISM Congregations Project Participants Announced

New Haven, Conn. – The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is pleased to announce that nine congregations from all over the US have been selected to attend the third ISM Congregations Project Summer Seminar in June 2013. Each congregation is working on a project related to the theme Hark, the Glad Sound: Inviting New and Returning Christians to Worship.

For the seminar, leadership teams from the congregations gather with ISM and guest faculty on the Yale campus for five days to form a diverse ecumenical community of ministers, musicians, scholars, and other church leaders. The curriculum is shaped by the theme and designed to support the congregations’ individual projects, which build on their particular strengths in worship, music, and the arts; to expand their capacity to serve the surrounding community; and to nurture ecumenical partnerships.

A list of the congregations follows, with the titles of their project proposals. More information about the congregations and their projects is at http://www.yale.edu/ism/congregations/congregations.html .

Robertson-Wesley United Church is an urban congregation located at the western end of the downtown core in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Since 2009, Robertson-Wesley has been an openly affirming church of the United Church of Canada. With weekly Sunday services held at 10:30am, the average attendance during peak months is 210 worshipers. There is also a monthly Sunday evening service called Soul OUTing, which is geared towards the LGBT community. Their highly recognized music program is a prominent feature of worship, encompassing an adult choir, 2 hand bell choirs, and Choral Morphosis, a choir for adults with disabilities. The congregation’s project is The Spiritual Collective.

Colbert Presbyterian Church (Colbert, Washington) resides on a ten-acre parcel in the fast growing outskirts of the Greater Spokane Region. There are two identical Sunday morning services, at 8:15 and 11:00 AM, which loosely follow the order found in the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship. Colbert Presbyterian’s music program focuses primarily on encouraging congregational singing. Each service features songs that draw from eclectic sources including global music, Taizé, African-American gospel, contemporary, and a variety of recent and traditional hymns. Their project is Engaging Souls in Transition: Inviting University Students into the Formational Practice of Worship.

First United Church of Christ Northfield is located 45 minutes south of Minneapolis in the vibrant arts community of Northfield, Minnesota. With a membership of 494 and average attendance of 175, Sunday morning worship takes place within their historic sanctuary at 10:30am. First UCC has a strong tradition of excellent instrumental and vocal music and outstanding musicianship, with close artistic connections to Carleton College and St. Olaf College. Supported with a magnificent pipe organ and grand piano, services are led by five choirs, two for adults and two for children, and one for hand bells. Their project centers on Arts-Infused Worship.

Holy Family Catholic Community is a multicultural parish situated in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a mid-size city at the foot of Lake Winnebago. With 17,500 registered members, it is the largest parish of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. There are four worship sites that offer 12 weekend masses and 10 masses spread throughout the week. Parish wide, Holy Family has one children’s choir, two teen choirs, a senior choir, and a hand-bell choir. Each site also has an adult choir, with one formed of Latinos singing entirely is Spanish. Additionally, there is a Hmong mass sung a capella in Hmong by worshipers. Creating a Church Community through Cultural Diversity is their project.

First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple (Chicago, Illinois) is located downtown in the heart of “The Loop.” Consisting of 625 full members, their congregation represents the diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods, drawing from every zip code in the entire city of Chicago, as well as 27 different suburb communities. There are Sunday worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am, as well as Wednesday Communion and Worship services and a Friday Taizé service. The music ministry is very diverse, and is composed of a multitude of talented and dedicated musicians. The name of their project is "Sun, Moon, and a Star”- Navigating and Gravitating Toward Church Through the Arts.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is an urban congregation located in the heart of downtown Richmond, Virginia. Considered a “destination church,” they reside only steps away from the Virginia State Capitol. A church of 887 Active Baptized Members, Sunday worship services are held at 7:45am, 9:00am, and 11:15 am. There are also Holy Eucharist services at 12:05pm throughout the workweek. They have three choirs comprised of members ages 8 to 81: the St. Paul’s Choristers, the Chancel Choir, and the Parish Choir. A very fine Rosales organ from 2001 supports the music at St. Paul’s. Engaging Our Community in Liturgy is the project they will explore.

Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, founded in 1820, is the oldest African American Congregational UCC church in the world. The church is located in the historic Dixwell neighborhood, just five blocks north of the heart of downtown New Haven, Connecticut and Yale University. With an active attendance of approximately 125 congregants, church membership has grown more than 10 percent over the past year. Weekly worship is on Sunday mornings at 11:00am and includes a robust musical program consisting of traditional hymns and anthems, as well as traditional and contemporary gospel music. The name of their project is Living into Legacy.

Tyson House Campus Ministry is a joint Lutheran Episcopal campus ministry on the campus of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.  Located across from a coffee house and a deli, a block from the main library, their common room is offered as a “living rom for the community,” hosting groups and events from a broad spectrum of campus and community constituents. The chapel is home to their worship services, which are on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Musical repertoire draws on European and World classical and folk traditions, paperless contemplative, as well as pop-informed expressions with strong theological content. Satellite Liturgy Labs is their project.

St. Olaf Student Congregation is a community of varied religious and social backgrounds at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, which seeks to become an intentional and self-conscious expression of God’s gathered people, providing opportunity for the ministry of Word and Sacraments, extending a call for responsible membership in the community of faith as well as in the community of learning, and showing a genuine and active concern for the work of the Church both on and off the campus.

The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is an interdisciplinary graduate center educating leaders who foster, explore, and study engagement with the sacred through music, worship, and the arts in Christian communities, diverse religious traditions, and public life. With a core focus on Christian sacred music, the ISM builds bridges among disciplines and vocations and makes creative space for scholarship, performance, and practice. More information about the Institute and its programs is at www.yale.edu/ism.

The ISM Congregations Project website, with information about its faculty, the congregations, future themes, and application procedures is at www.yale.edu/ism/congregations.