If one word summarizes the daily worship of General Convention’s, it’s diversity. From dual-language leaflets and a circular altar, Gregorian chant to “praise band” music, services will encompass a range of styles and cultures.
That’s no accident.
“The last General Convention made it very clear that those of us who engage in liturgical planning for General Convention needed to be more intentional about ... incorporating diversity,” said the Rev. Clayton Morris, church liturgical officer.
That included musical diversity. “This was probably the primary directive from the presiding bishop, was to provide music of diversity,” said Monte Mason, who helped plan the music. “So we’ve taken our cue from the top.”
Each day will begin with a Eucharist. On every day except Aug. 1 and 3, people will sit around tables and engage in 10 minutes of Scripture reflection after a short homily. Aug. 1 will be the second convention Morning of Prayer, while Aug. 3 will mark the United Thank Offering Ingathering and Eucharist, with Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of Nigeria preaching.
Native American influences will be evident during worship in the diocese that ordained Enmegahbowh, the first Native American Episcopal priest. The altar will be circular, inspired by the sacred circle of Native American spirituality, Morris said.
The Aug. 5 service honoring Enmegahbowh will be a Rite III Eucharist using Native American ideas and imagery, he explained. The Oak Point Drumming Group, which includes drummers and singers, will perform.
“They sing unaccompanied,” Mason explained. “Even traditional Anglican hymnody is unaccompanied. It’s a much different style. It’s much slower, but it’s sung with some intensity.”
Eucharists will incorporate other cultures, as well. Participants will be invited to say the Lord’s Prayer in the language of their choice, for example, and lections will be read in various languages.
All service leaflets will be printed in Spanish, as well as English. “We did that as a means of recognizing that Spanish-speaking Episcopalians are by far our largest non-English-speaking community,” Morris said.
Worshipers will see a “visual prelude” each day in visual graphic-arts images selected by the Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts and projected onto a screen behind the altar.
Featured musicians, choirs
Service music will draw from various resources, including the new “Enriching Our Music I,” “Voices Found: Women in the Church’s Song” and the “Portland Psalter.” Featured musicians at convention include:
July 30 — St. Mark’s Cathedral Choir with Canon Musician Ray Johnston, and the Aurora Brass Ensemble.
July 31 — Cross Culture, led by Mary Preus. “They will be performing world music,” Mason said. The group “was formed by the Lutheran Church and ... paid to go across the country to give workshops in musical diversity.”
Aug. 1 — The Gregorian Singers, directed by Mason, who also is organist and choirmaster at St. Martin’s by-the-Lake, Minnetonka Beach, and co-chair of the Enriching Our Music project of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.
Aug. 2 — Combined “praise bands” of Church of the Messiah, St. Paul, led by Jeff Kidder, and St. Stephen the Martyr, Edina, led by Carlene Seppala. “They will be singing music from the Christian pop repertoire, plus they’ll be pumping up a couple of oldies but goodies, so it won’t be totally unknown to the more conservative side of Anglican musical expression.”
Aug. 3 — Diocesan massed mixed and handbell choirs, plus the Eden Prairie Community Band, with overall conductor Howard Don Small.
Aug. 4 — Choir of St. Clement’s, St. Paul, conducted by Douglas Shambo with organist Paul Danilewski.
Aug. 5 — Oak Point Drumming Group.
Aug. 6 — Ascension Youth Choir of Ascension Church, Stillwater, directed by Nancy Whipkey with organist James Frazier.
Aug. 7 — United Deliverance Temple Gospel Choir.
Aug. 8 — The Bishops Choir, composed of 20 to 30 bishops and coordinated by Suffragan Bishop Catherine Roskam of the Diocese of New York.