Fall Newsletter Excerpt | Reflections of a Worship Coordinator
Written by Alyssa Berkenpas, Worship Coordinator
As I look ahead to my new official title of “Worship Coordinator,” I get excited about all the spaces and places I will continue working towards and building on. Just in this last year as the interim coordinator, I have learned so much and gained a newfound appreciation for worship from a reformed perspective as I designed services, wrote liturgies, and collaborated with our worship leaders and staff on various events.
There are so many highlights from the last year that I want to continue to learn from and build off.
Last September I did a book study with Pastor Steve reading You Are What You Love by James K. Smith. It looks at how we need to be constantly re-calibrating our hearts and desires as this is what forms us. We do this through liturgies, or in other words, habits. This has been a great foundation for me in appreciating how worship forms us into our weeks. It also was a great read to start out with as the worship coordinator. Every week, as I plan the service, I dive into scripture, look at different readings, and go through hymn books; I feel as though I am consistently surrounded by the services liturgy that it has, as Smith says, re-calibrated my heart in beautiful and transforming ways. I look forward to how this will continue to grow in the future. As a bonus: I believe this book is in our library if you want to take a look at it! It’s an easy read and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you do pick it up.
Another highlight comes from my favourite season in the church calendar: Lent and Easter. It naturally lends itself to be reflective and melancholy. It’s dark, gloomy, then suddenly, with Easter, it’s so incredibly joyous and celebratory. As I was looking at planning Easter weekend, I wanted to create spaces that reflected these moods. So with a lot of designing, writing, and dreaming; using resources I found in Reformed Worship (a fantastic magazine focusing on worship services that I use frequently for ideas and inspiration), I planned three services that we, as a congregation, could participate in together. A particular highlight was Saturday, the Walking With Jesus event where we took time to come into a space of quietness and go through the different stations on the way to the cross. I’m looking forward to future years of how we can intentionally set aside time to prepare ourselves for Easter joy.
In between all these major events and services, there are many behind the scenes things that happen on a week-to-week basis. Working with staff on different projects has been great, and I look forward to more of this happening as our team is so well rounded which enables us to do more creative projects together. I also love meeting regularly with our amazing worship leaders who I get to learn from and pass on whatever I’ve been learning to them. We have amazing discussions about worship and worship specifically at Living Hope. It’s been such a privilege to get to know them more.
Lastly, I want to let you know about a project I’m starting during my maternity leave. I’ve just begun a year-long certificate in Music Fundamentals for Worship. This will give me time to grow in my understanding of the basics in music. The four courses will focus on music theory specifically in worship music, music leadership for choirs and bands, worship technology and production, and building a music and worship ministry. I found this course through Thrive, a CRC ministry aimed for equipping the church. It is great to be part of a denomination that supports leaders and they even gave me a grant to pay for part of the tuition. It feels a little odd to be back in school again, but it’s also great timing for me as I’ll be at home with our new baby, Nell, a lot these next few months instead of in the office. I’m looking forward to what it teaches me and how I can apply what I’m learning once I’m back.
I’m proud of the worship ministry we have here at Living Hope, and I’m excited to get back into things more regularly again.