Holywood Parish explores movement in worshipFriday 20 April 2012
“Then the young women will dance for joy; the young and old men will join in. I will turn their mourning into laughter and their sadness into joy; I will comfort them.” Jeremiah 31:13 (CEB)
At St Philip and St James, Holywood Parish, a Movement in Worship evening, named ‘31:13’ after the quotation above from Jeremiah, has been running about once every three weeks since September 2011. It has been enjoying increasing attendance and the further development of faith, community and self–confidence for the many who’ve come along.
The vision was to create an informal space where worshippers are free to express their worship through movement and dance, as part of a loving community that develops a sense of worship rather than performance. The emphasis is on participation rather than audience, preferring to focus attention on the Lord of the dance, participants offering him their souls and bodies as a living sacrifice, as they move in response to scripture, worship songs, and the Father’s love for his children.
Lynda Cleland is the leader and is a busy member of Holywood Parish. She belongs to the Christian Dance Fellowship of Ireland, which has regular conferences and other events to support dance as a form of worship and witness. She brings lots of ideas and equipment to the sessions. “It’s amazing how some red cloth, some chocolate coins and a bunch of roses can suddenly take on a whole new depth of meaning when you begin to meditate on the scriptures using your mind and body!” said one participant. “Lynda sensitively encourages the best from us, regardless of our ability level and experience, and gives practical advice that enables us to worship like we had never dared to try in front of others before! However we never feel like we are performing to anyone but God alone.”
There have been times where the presence of God has been felt in the room so much that no–one wanted to speak, but the evenings are also saturated with laughter and fun – no–one takes themselves too seriously, but they do take Him seriously! The group has found it incredibly moving to see and feel the character of God made visible and tangible through the actions and movements performed individually and together. Each 31:13 session has been quite different, but at the close of each session, they are always left tired yet hungry for more!
Further information and dates available from the parish website: www.holywoodparishchurch.co.uk