Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to Love Your Hymns

Survey of Favorites and Least Favorite Hymns of UMs


For several months GBOD has been surveying United Methodists’ choices for their favorite and least favorite hymns and thousands have responded. The last day to participate in the survey will be Monday, November 6, when the survey will be removed from our website. If you have not yet completed the survey, you are invited to do so by telling us your ten favorite and ten least favorite hymns. You may choose any ten selections in any combination from The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) and/or The Faith We Sing (2000). The survey consists of the alphabetical listing of both books’ contents and a check box for each title. You simply click on your ten selections. Here are two suggestions to avoid problems when taking the survey:

  1. Think about your responses prior to logging onto the site. It is best to make a list ahead of time so that all you have to do is browse through the titles and click your selections.
  2. The survey will not allow you to select more than ten titles. If you select more than ten favorites or more than ten least-favorites, your responses will be cleared and you will be asked to try again.
After choosing your selections, you will be asked to respond to five demographic questions that will help us in analyzing the survey. Your participation and responses are confidential and anonymous. You will not be asked for your name or identifying personal information. This information will be used to help us plan for future resources in congregational singing and in identifying changes and trends in musical style. We are grateful for your participation and ask you to encourage your friends, your children, your congregation, Sunday School classes, students, professors, pastors, choir members, church staff, -- any United Methodist – to participate. It is our hope to have as wide a participation as possible. To take the survey, go to www.gbod.org/favoritehymns.html.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Vision Casting

So it seems the language of the business world, and the church alike for more than 20 years now has been that of Mission and Vision.

As is usual of late, I too have been pondering on this very concept.

This evening for some reason I had an insight...maybe it is the 44oz Pepsi I am working my way through during dinner, the headache I have had all day, or the ongoing search for meaning (my apologies to Viktor Frankl)

I was thinking about vision casting. I have been asking questions of our Administrative Council each month as we deal with the business of the church about the mission and vision we have for the future of the Del Rosa UMC.

Vision Casting has been presented for so long as this thing you cast over the congregation that they all fall trapped in, and then you just bring them all on board your boat. I have trouble with this because I wonder what of the congregation's vision. How do we temper these both with the Wesleyan understanding of "Experience" where something is validated through shared experience (and Scripture, Tradition and Reason, of course)?

But, I think I understand better my own process of vision casting. I do not employ the net method, where the next fisherman/pastor will come along and cast their own net hoping to catch more fish in the vision, each time forsaking the vision casting done by the previous pastor. Instead I employ a simple fly fishing line, like many of the fishermen and women of the Owens Valley do. I pick the right fly - to the best of my knowledge and the accumulated knowledge of so many other fishers. I pick the right water, checking for fish (this is somewhat affected by where the Bishop appoints me). I fish for uncaught fish - I am not trying to pull fish out of another fisherman's creel, or off the line they have already cast. In fact, I do not want to cross my line with their line, but I do want to learn from their experiences. I cast my fly in the air before landing it on the water - also known as floating an idea. I seek to catch one fish at a time, for the best results - whether those results be for the art of fishing (catch and release), consuming (utilizing their talents for the benefit of existing fish); or for hatchery (making new disciples).

In essence, my vision is developed one fish at a time. I want each fish to benefit the larger good to the greatest possible end, and I don't do well catching large numbers of fish, because I do not have the additional fishermen with me necessary for such a catch. But, in the process of fishing I am also trying to develop some new fishermen and women. The hope is that maybe someday we will be ready for the big net, and we can cast it together and bring in the overly large haul.

But, this type of fishing means that regular changes have to be made - to the location, to the drying time of the fly, to the type of fly used, and for reeling in each fish caught, let alone the time necessary for teaching new fisherwomen.

At this moment I am actually fishing not so much for the fish, but for new fishermen and women to help cast the net, taking time every once in a while to fish for the individual fish, hoping that my new students will be better able to cast their own lines, and ultimately we can gather enough other fisherwomen and men together to cast a real net (read "vision")