October 8, 2020

Disruption Stories: The Methodist Who Danced

Singing in church has been disrupted. A professional church musician is discovering new ways to worship.

At least for a while, there is no singing allowed in church. Even with a mask on to prevent the spread of droplets, singing can be a dangerous way of becoming a vector of the coronavirus. 

That is a trial for many of us. 

For anyone who has served in kids church, you know there is also a lot of body movement that accompanies worship. And, as many churches now include a kids portion as part of their Sunday livestream, even those who don’t volunteer are at least seeing hand motions and body movement accompany worship songs. 

And, some of us might even get up off the couch and dance -- umm, move -- along with the kids. 

Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, a professional church musician, spoke with Jason Stanley about a church who has a very creative organist. The organist has placed in the pews little egg-shaped shakers (sanitized before and after each service) so people can play along with the music. 

“We’ve been clapping hands forever, of course. And, what’s to say, we might even get up and dance! You know, we Methodists might even move. 

“People say to me, 'Leigh Anne, don’t be ridiculous, nothing is going to make me move in worship.’ And yet, who has not at some time in their life been to a Christmas Eve service and held a candle to Silent Night and lifted it on the closing verse, and been awestruck? 

“This is often one of those memories that we have forever of the presence of the holy in worship. That is movement in worship.

“So, maybe during Covid, we give ourselves permission to move our bodies in ways we haven’t been doing before.”