Seminars

Monday, July 24
Extended Seminars (1:00-2:45 p.m.)

Worship Dance Rehearsals — Karen Andrews
Dancers of all ages, genders, shapes, sizes, and experience levels are welcome to participate in these rehearsals. Modifications can be made to choreography for any physical ability. We will be preparing simple and worshipful moments of movement for services on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings and, as time allows, exploring the choreography process so you can implement movement as a part of worship at your home church.

Handbell Ministry from Soup to Nuts — Tracy DePue
In this extended seminar for handbell ministry leaders, we will cover a full course of handbell ministry topics including: 24 ways to improve your leadership skills, a top 10 list of ideas for handbell ministry, standard handbell assignments, techniques for teaching 4-in-hand ringing, and more.

Liturgical Design for Dummies Worship Artists Created with God’s DNA — Laura Jaquith Bartlett
So you want to design worship for General Conference! Wait … no? You want to design meaningful worship for your own congregation. As it turns out, the approach is much the same. All worship is contextual, participatory, creative — and invites us into an encounter with God, which in turn shapes us into community. This seminar will use examples from General Conference worship to illustrate how we can each design liturgy that will work in our own settings, no matter the size or the style.

Awakening Joy and Soul: Empowering the Church Organist For Worship — Tom Trenney
Join in an empowering, encouraging organ seminar where we will explore new possibilities for practical and meaningful improvisation in service playing and discover more effective ways to communicate the joy and soul of our spirits and our art. This seminar will be taught at First UMC, a 5 block walk from the Little Rock Marriott.

3:00-5:00 p.m.

Choral Anthem Spectacular!
Don’t miss this multi-publisher choral reading session that will include music from six publishers! This session is in addition to the six reading sessions throughout the event and is complimentary for all convocation registrants. This will be a great way to kick off the Convocation! Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, July 25
Morning Plenary (9:00-10:15 a.m.)

Go Ye Therefore — Cynthia Wilson
Should congregational song that is celebrated in corporate worship inspire, instigate, initiate a response to the Great Commission? If so, how can liturgical leaders help to facilitate that response? If not, what is the role of music and worship leaders in carrying out the Great Commission?

1:00-1:45 p.m.

Choral Reading Session
Beckenhorst Press

2:00-3:15 p.m.

Roof Digger Worship — Lisa Yebuah
Description to come.

Congregational Care — Jenny Smith and Susan Hiller
Congregational care seminars will be offered by members of Community of Hope, Intl., who will explore the lay chaplain training course based on Benedictine Spirituality and its use in the local church ministry of caring for members of the congregation and community at large. (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Difficult Conversations — Toni Phinisey-Webber
As the city of Little Rock gears up for the 60th Anniversary of the Central High School Desegregation Crisis of 1957, we must reflect back on the past sixty years and ask what has changed and what has remained the same. Difficult Conversations is designed to allow participants to take a walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Having difficult conversations is a skill and it also allows for teachable moments to occur. These conversations push our society forward to true reconciliation and foster empathy for one another. (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Enacting Grace: Accessibility in the Spaces and Texts of Worship — Justin & Lisa Hancock
How do we make worship accessible? Justin and Lisa will help participants answer this question in two key areas of Christian worship: space and text. By opening wide the concept of accessibility, new and creative means of integrating disability and accessibility into the spatial and textual aspects of worship will emerge. (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Song, Struggle, and Solidarity: Origins of South African Freedom Song — Michael Hawn
During the apartheid struggle in South Africa during the last century, Freedom Songs emerged as a source of unity and solidarity for black South Africans and others around the world that chose to join them in their struggle. Several of these songs may be found in congregational song collections in the United States as well as around the world. Where did they come from? Why should we sing them? How might we use them in worship? What do they tell us about the role of congregational song to shape faith, forge identity, and resist oppression? Come prepared to sing (and dance)! (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

The Future of Worship in the UMC — Taylor Burton-Edwards and Dawn Chesser
In this session, Taylor Burton-Edwards and Dawn Chesser from Discipleship Ministries will share primary learnings from their 2016 national event on worship, focusing on four critical areas: worship planning, music, preaching, and sacramental practice. In this session they will also preview the 2018 Fusion event, a joint effort with the Fellowship, and discuss the particular cultural challenges of planning and leading worship. (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

4:00-4:45 p.m.

“This I Believe” (or, Kevin’s Credo for Choirs) — Kevin McBeth
After 40 years in music ministry, Kevin shares his thoughts on the blessings (and burdens) of leading successful church choirs.

Children’s Choir: Membership Beyond our Walls — Megan Mash
With the ever changing landscape of congregations, our need for creativity in all aspects of music ministry is a must. Having fewer families and children in church requires us to reach out to them. Come to discuss how to create and maintain a children’s choir in your church and community. We are called to go beyond our walls to make disciples and what better place to start than with the children! (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Worship Dance Rehearsals — Karen Andrews
Dancers of all ages, genders, shapes, sizes, and experience levels are welcome to participate in these rehearsals. Modifications can be made to choreography for any physical ability. We will be preparing simple and worshipful moments of movement for services on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and, as time allows, exploring the choreography process so you can implement movement as a part of worship at your home church.

Percussion for Worship — Rebecca Garrett Pace
An interactive seminar where we’ll experiment with simple, practical, and fun ways to incorporate drumming and auxiliary percussion into the worship life of your church. From adding a simple chime to complement a favorite hymn all the way to West African choruses with djembe, we’ll discover new heartbeats of our worship song for all ages. No experience necessary. Come ready to have some fun! (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Sing a Hymn/Finish a Banner — Grace Cox-Johnson
In this workshop we will look at five easy steps to creating a beautiful full-size fabric banner with your congregation in worship during the singing of one hymn. We will also discuss at least a dozen different ways to utilize this exercise with different settings, time-frames and participants throughout a church community and/or other gatherings. This work is an example of bringing something new and tangible into being through living out our faith in ritual. There will also be one brief group hands-on project. (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

Self Care — Glenn McCracken
Self-care offerings will include early morning yoga and meditation, a seminar on self-care, and the opportunity to schedule individual counseling, personal training, and massage sessions. Do you know how to take care of you? How do you measure your self-care practice? If someone else treated you the way that you treat you how would you feel? (This session will be repeated on Thursday.)

5:00-5:45 p.m.

Choral Reading Session
Hope Publishing

Wednesday, July 26
Morning Plenary (9:00-10:15 a.m.)

Lift Up Your Voice — Hannah Adair Bonner
The prophet Isaiah writes, “Shout, do not hold back! Lift up your voice …” What is it that we have been holding back or that has been holding us back? What voices have been missing from the conversation of our worship? When we stop talking and start listening — to the artists, the poets, the cry in the streets — we will find it easy to understand that the reason we gather is to be sent back out.

10:20-11:05 a.m.

Choral Reading Session
MorningStar Music Publishers

1:00-1:45 p.m.

Choral Reading Session
GIA Publications

2:00-2:45 p.m.

Plenary Talkback Session — Hannah Adair Bonner
An informal conversation with Hannah Bonner. Participants will have the opportunity to do further reflection upon and application of the ideas presented in the morning plenary.

Box? There’s a Box? — Rebecca Garrett Pace and Joe Stobaugh
Come bounce around ideas for out-of-the-box ways to integrate all ages into worship arts. We’ll talk about the changing shape of children’s choirs, how we can work toward a more intergenerational church, and how a ukulele choir can transform the world 4 strings at a time.

Writing Liturgy Emboldened by the Spirit — Jackie Thompson
Come and be inspired to create new liturgies and shape new prayers. We will begin with references to assist with the preparation of bulletin materials and then introduce you to different liturgical voices. You will be encouraged to think, imagine and verbalize the concerns of your particular context in shaping a liturgical piece.

Collaborative Worship Planning: A Seminar for Preachers — Dawn Chesser, Taylor Burton-Edwards, and Jackson Henry
This seminar, facilitated by the worship staff from Discipleship Ministries, will explore ways in which preachers can collaborate more effectively with musicians and others in planning worship.

Embodied Grace: A Journey in Disability Theology and Worship — Justin & Lisa Hancock
What does it mean to embody the fullness of God’s creation in worship? In this workshop, Justin and Lisa will paint a picture of God’s diverse creation through the lens of disability theology. Through this lens, Justin and Lisa will offer a theology of worship that embraces the fullness of human embodiments and sheds light on the disability community’s significant offerings to the worship of God’s people.

Also, an additional seminar on social media and a special piano demo! Titles and descriptions to come!

2:00-2:45 p.m.

Injustice and the Heart:
A panel discussion on how to cultivate lives of justice, mercy, and faith in a world that is in desperate need of compassion and reconciliation. Facilitated by Tracy DePue.

Some questions we will ponder include: How do I open my eyes to see The Imago Dei in others? How do my own privileges (e.g., Christian, health, education, heterosexual, home ownership, employment, U.S. citizenship) create a barrier to seeing, and responding to, the needs of others?

Thursday, July 27
Morning Plenary (9:00-10:15 a.m.)

Title TBD — Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
Description to come.

1:00-1:45 p.m.

Choral Reading Session
Hinshaw Music

2:00-3:15 p.m.

And May God Give Us Faith to Sing Always — Tom Trenney
In this interactive and inspirational workshop, we will explore our vocation as pastoral musicians beyond the confines of our job descriptions. We will explore our collective vocation as organists, conductors, teachers, performers, and pastoral musicians. Tom Trenney shares his personal faith story, inviting us to reconsider and reaffirm our individual calling to music ministry. We will pause to consider our purpose as servant musicians and ponder how we might encourage others to grow in faith that we may sing always!

Congregational Care — Jenny Smith and Susan Hiller
Congregational care seminars will be offered by members of Community of Hope, Intl., who will explore the lay chaplain training course based on Benedictine Spirituality and its use in the local church ministry of caring for members of the congregation and community at large. (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Difficult Conversations — Toni Phinisey-Webber
As the city of Little Rock gears up for the 60th Anniversary of the Central High School Desegregation Crisis of 1957, we must reflect back on the past sixty years and ask what has changed and what has remained the same. Difficult Conversations is designed to allow participants to take a walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Having difficult conversations is a skill and it also allows for teachable moments to occur. These conversations push our society forward to true reconciliation and foster empathy for one another. (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Enacting Grace: Accessibility in the Spaces and Texts of Worship — Justin & Lisa Hancock
How do we make worship accessible? Justin and Lisa will help participants answer this question in two key areas of Christian worship: space and text. By opening wide the concept of accessibility, new and creative means of integrating disability and accessibility into the spatial and textual aspects of worship will emerge. (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Song, Struggle, and Solidarity: Origins of South African Freedom Song — Michael Hawn
During the apartheid struggle in South Africa during the last century, Freedom Songs emerged as a source of unity and solidarity for black South Africans and others around the world that chose to join them in their struggle. Several of these songs may be found in congregational song collections in the United States as well as around the world. Where did they come from? Why should we sing them? How might we use them in worship? What do they tell us about the role of congregational song to shape faith, forge identity, and resist oppression? Come prepared to sing (and dance)! (Repeated from Tuesday.)

The Future of Worship in the UMC — Taylor Burton-Edwards and Dawn Chesser
In this session, Taylor Burton-Edwards and Dawn Chesser from Discipleship Ministries will share primary learnings from their 2016 national event on worship, focusing on four critical areas: worship planning, music, preaching, and sacramental practice. In this session they will also preview the 2018 Fusion event, a joint effort with the Fellowship, and discuss the particular cultural challenges of planning and leading worship. (Repeated from Tuesday.)

4:00-4:45 p.m.

Convocation Choir Rehearsal — Kevin McBeth
Final preparations for Thursday night’s worship service. Pre-registration required.

Children’s Choir: Membership Beyond our Walls — Megan Mash
With the ever changing landscape of congregations, our need for creativity in all aspects of music ministry is a must. Having fewer families and children in church requires us to reach out to them. Come to discuss how to create and maintain a children’s choir in your church and community. We are called to go beyond our walls to make disciples and what better place to start than with the children! (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Worship Dance rehearsal — Karen Andrews
Dancers of all ages, genders, shapes, sizes, and experience levels are welcome to participate in these rehearsals. Modifications can be made to choreography for any physical ability. We will be preparing simple and worshipful moments of movement for the service Thursday evening and, as time allows, exploring the choreography process so you can implement movement as a part of worship at your home church.

Percussion for Worship — Rebecca Garrett Pace
An interactive seminar where we’ll experiment with simple, practical, and fun ways to incorporate drumming and auxiliary percussion into the worship life of your church. From adding a simple chime to complement a favorite hymn all the way to West African choruses with djembe, we’ll discover new heartbeats of our worship song for all ages. No experience necessary. Come ready to have some fun! (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Self Care — Glenn McCracken
Self-care offerings will include early morning yoga and meditation, a seminar on self-care, and the opportunity to schedule individual counseling, personal training, and massage sessions. Do you know how to take care of you? How do you measure your self-care practice? If someone else treated you the way that you treat you how would you feel? (Repeated from Tuesday.)

Sing a Hymn/Finish a Banner — Grace Cox-Johnson
In this workshop we will look at five easy steps to creating a beautiful full-size fabric banner with your congregation in worship during the singing of one hymn. We will also discuss at least a dozen different ways to utilize this exercise with different settings, time-frames and participants throughout a church community and/or other gatherings. This work is an example of bringing something new and tangible into being through living out our faith in ritual. There will also be one brief group hands-on project. (Repeated from Tuesday.)

5:00-5:45 p.m.

Choral Reading Session
Choristers Guild