Worship and Music Ministry

Worship is a unifying event in the life of our congregation. It is the one time when all members join together in a common purpose—to worship and thank God for God’s grace given to all in Word and Sacrament. During worship, the liturgy can connect all parish programs and ministries: evangelism, stewardship, education, property, music, the arts, youth, seniors, social ministry, fellowship and more.

Read below to learn more about:

  • How Lutherans Worship
  • Music in the Lutheran Worship Service
  • Saint James’ Chancel Choir
  • The Worship and Music Ministry Team

How Lutherans Worship

The words and actions through which Lutherans worship God are many and varied. Lutheran congregations are seldom identical in the way they worship. Still, for most Lutherans, certain facts hold true:

  • Lutheran worship is liturgical, following a common order of service adopted by the Church.
  • Lutheran worship is biblical. It has roots in the life of the Old Testament people and of the New Testament Church. It uses the language of Scripture and celebrates the biblical message.
  • Lutheran worship employs the historic heritage of Christian worship common to major branches of the Church, as it has developed over 20 centuries.
  • In the spirit of the Reformation, Lutherans worship in the contemporary language of the people. Lay persons, as well as the clergy, participate actively in appropriate leadership roles.
  • Lutheran worship employs the arts---musical and visual---as gifts from God to be used to God's glory and for the instruction of God's people.

Music in the Lutheran Worship Service

Within the context of the historical liturgy, music functions not as an ornament or entertainment, but rather as an integral part of the liturgy, carrying prayer and praise and illuminating the proclamation of the Word. The music of the liturgy invites everyone--adults, children, the choir, instrumentalists and pastors–-to participate. Because each group is a part of the whole, each has its own role as it takes a turn leading prayer and praise with the entire assembly.

Music's most important function is to illuminate the text that allows us to see Christ and the action of God in our lives. Music that overshadows the text and draws attention to itself violates its purpose. The music that we sing should help us make common things holy, link our faith to the communal life of the assembly, and move us to embrace the church at all times and in all places. For that reason, our music is old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, and of many styles and ethnic roots. Effective music in worship is varied but the best that each genre has to offer.

The entire congregation is called upon to participate actively in the liturgical action. Worshipers’ primary musical role in worship is to sing the hymnody, portions of the liturgy, acclamations, and music accompanying processions. Hymns are chosen for their relevance to the meaning of the day or season, and for their ability to illuminate the assigned readings.

The hymn of the day is the most important of these hymns and relates directly to the gospel reading of the day.

Thoughtful introductions, addition of other instruments, descants, and varied voicing on hymn stanzas contribute to interpretations that enhance the meaning of the hymn text.

The Chancel Choir

The Saint James’ Chancel Choir participates in our 10:00 a.m. Sunday worship service and for special occasions. The Chancel Choir meets for practice on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.

The choir has it own set of musical responsibilities. Its primary function is to support and enhance the congregation’s song. In that role, the choir helps the assembly to sing with confidence and acts as a teacher by helping the congregation to enlarge its repertoire of hymns and liturgical settings. Participation with the congregation in festive settings of the hymn of the day is of major importance.

The Worship Ministry Team  of Saint James – Come Join Us

All members are welcome to join the Worship and Music Ministry Team. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. For more information, please contact the church office or Barbara Gearing, Worship and Music Ministry Chair.

Overall Responsibilities:

  • Visioning (based on mutual learning and involvement in the worship life of the congregation)
  • Policy making (including making recommendations to council)
  • Overseeing subcommittees
  • Evaluating regular liturgies and special events
  • Receiving feedback from the congregation
  • Coordinating with other committees

Specific Duties:

  • Training and coordination of particular ministries (lay assisting ministers, lectors, altar guilds, acolytes, etc.)
  • Planning worship (which may normally be done by pastor(s), musicians(s), and at most several additional members)
  • Environment and seasonal decorating
  • Coordinating arts events (recitals, exhibits, and the like)
  • Arranging for event receptions and regular fellowship
  • Managing publicity for liturgies and other events
  • Preparing explanatory and/or inspiring articles in the congregational newsletter about particular services and times in the church year