Central Nebraska PLR Cohort
Celebrates Advent in November
Pastors and commissioned pastors from Central Nebraska and the Panhandle gathered at the Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska, for their third PLR retreat. Dr. Marcia McFee of Worship Design Studio https://www.worshipdesignstudio.com/ was the featured workshop and worship leader, as her workshop teachings were used in worship.
In her workshops, Marcia emphasized four concepts: (1) Worship is an intentional spiritual journey, an encounter with God; (2) active engagement in worship results in formation and shaping of persons who “go and do likewise” in the world; (3) it is imperative to communicate the Gospel in a variety of forms, offering worship in a variety of sensory-rich ways; and, (4) the way worship is led makes a difference how deeply worshipers go in their own journey.
Two lessons seemed especially key for the participants: the simple, yet powerful way a worship space can be adorned with fabric, lighting, candles, and other objects to enhance the worship experience, and developing a consistent theme in worship.
The participants experienced these learnings during worship itself. The worship theme for the four services during the retreat was “The Inn: Housing the Holy.” The worship space was adorned with deep blue fabric, lights and four small crates. Each crate held a large candle – the candles of Advent. During each worship service, a participant read scripture and placed the lit candle in a crate. Participants also sang two songs during each worship service: “Make of My Heart a Stable,” and “Hope Waits for Us at Advent.” By the end of the retreat, these songs became the foundation for understanding that we can house the Holy in this Advent season.
“I’ve been raving about all the resources and creative ideas we were exposed to – and about Marcia herself. Being introduced to her and her resources was a gift. Worship planning can be a deeply meaningful spiritual discipline. It can also be beautiful. I also love the way Marcia approaches the lectionary texts – reading all the prophets together, all the epistles together, all the gospels together and finding threads. I’m going to try that (when I have time!). I also love the night we went to the Mexican restaurant and enjoyed that fellowship and game. We have become such a comfortable community that enjoys each other, and that too, is a gift.” –Jill Boyd, retreat participant