Across the country, progressive Christians are connecting. It’s an important historical moment noted by hundreds of authors, theologians and local pastors. Four nationally-known church musicians are serious about this movement’s soundtrack.
Bryan Sirchio, Andra Moran, Christopher Grundy and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan each publish and perform music known for emergent or progressive themes. This summer, they will convene the third annual SHIFT gathering – a distinctive, cross-denominational event for people passionate about music in the church.
Registration is now open for the event July 31-August 3, 2013 at Pilgrim Center, a United Church of Christ conference center in Ripon, Wisconsin. Register online at http://tinyurl.com/nhd3wh7 or by calling 1-920-PILGRIM. Learn more at www.shiftmusic.org.
The event is for anyone with a stake in quality church music: musicians, songwriters, pastors, choir directors, lay leaders and seminarians. The four leaders will introduce new songs, lead rich conversation about creating music, and discuss how “progressive” theology is changing the state of the wider church.
Bryan Sirchio, ordained minister in the UCC and full-time musician, has shaped the vision for Shift through his blog and newly released book, “The Six Marks of Progressive Christian Worship Music.” Bringing over 24 years of music ministry to the table, Sirchio’s leadership initiated the first event three years ago. “We all know the institutional church is slow to change. Shift is a way to bring together worship leaders who are doing the hard work. A movement and community has crystalized around SHIFT, and I can’t wait to see where it will take us.”
Christopher Grundy, professor of worship at Eden Seminary, adds his expertise in both theology and songwriting. “Musical artists have often been powerful leaders of movements of faith,” Grundy says. “Songwriters are starting to shape the theology of the emerging church with their music. There’s a lot at stake. At last year’s event, my favorite thing was watching people as they realized they were not alone in their ministry.”
Included in the event: learning new songs, musical resources, workshops on worship design and musical leadership, and musical collaboration among registrants. Each day will feature keynotes, discussion, daily prayer and wholesome meals from Pilgrim Center.
“Besides helping musicians create good music, we want to encourage them” says Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, liturgical theologian and songwriter. “Shift is a time to refresh your calling as a musician.”
Besides being a touring musician, artist Andra Moran is the worship leader at The Bridge, an emergent community in Nashville. She sums up the event’s purpose: “This retreat is for all those who are passionate about progressive Christian worship and really want the movement to sing.”