St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

ReGeneration: Try it On

Posted by John-Luke Addison on

‘Contemporary Worship’ is a loaded term, as it implies that our normal methods for worship are backward, old-fashioned, and ‘Traditional’. That may be true to an extent, as we use familiar liturgical elements such as creeds, readings, and prayers, but so much of our worship style has evolved over the years, and what we have is very much ‘contemporary’ already. The biblical translation accepted by the Episcopal Church (New Revised Standard Edition) was published in 1989. Many of our favorite hymns were composed in the last 50 years (“On Eagles’ Wings”, “Here I Am, Lord”, and “Shine, Jesus, Shine” come to mind). And our language for Collect, Prayer, Blessing, and Confession is often updated to implement more inclusivity and establish relevance with our modern world. So is the term ‘Traditional’ really accurate for our framework?

Normally when we hear ‘Contemporary Worship’, our minds may imagine rock and pop music, with fierce evangelical speakers: something that is completely the antithesis of what our comfort zone is in our bubbles of Tradition. For some denominations and institutions, this may be the reality, but our vision at St. Bart’s for Contemporary Worship maintains much of what we love about the Episcopal liturgy and provides more engaging opportunities for sensory expression. Our eyes look higher, our ears hear a new language, and our mouths sing new songs. Dynamic worship can take many shapes, and our goal is to provide another worship opportunity for our community, so they can become closer to God and nurture our spiritual relationships.

Regeneration is defined as “bringing new and more vigorous life”, and “giving a new and higher spiritual nature.” Our first ReGeneration service in October was powerful in many ways and planted the seed to our community that we can be challenged to open our senses to more colorful worship. Our worship team includes singers, musicians, speakers, and readers, and the service encourages vibrant congregational participation through music, prayer, and presence. We sing music that has powerful underlay, share stories of faith and experience, support our community through prayer, and receive Eucharist without exception. The service shares several similarities with Celtic music and liturgy, as well as the traditions of Cursillo, Folk Masses, and new Christian music.

The next ReGeneration service is Sunday, January 20 at 4 p.m. We challenge you to come to try it on. You may feel it’s not the right size, or you may find it fits perfectly and allows you to pursue a deeper relationship with God.