UU church offers music ministry internships

From June’s InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO, has had a number of ministerial interns over the years. It’s also gone a step further, hiring three music ministry interns.

The first was in 2004, the second in 2009, and the third arrives in July. “With all of the conversation happening now about excellence in ministry, having music ministry interns is an interesting part of that discussion,” says Keith Arnold, Jefferson’s minister of music.

“It raises the question: Where do we find new religious professionals? Do we wait for them to show up, or do we recruit and train them?” He adds that many music schools don’t provide training on how to offer music in church settings.

Go to the full article.

Spanish-language hymnal ready

The Spanish-language hymnal, Las voces del camino: Un complemento de Singing the Living Tradition, is available from the UUA Bookstore for $18. It presents more than 70 songs in Spanish, including songs from Singing the Living Tradition, plus other selections from Spanish-speaking cultures the world over. There are discounts for orders of 10 or more.

The hymnal (English translation is Voices on the Journey) was first introduced a year ago, then withdrawn due to errors in translation. The hymnal was proposed in 2003 by a member of the First Unitarian Church of San Jose, Calif., and is a joint production between the UU Musicians Network and the UUA.

Skinner House offers new military resource

Skinner House Books has published Bless All Who Serve: Sources of Hope, Courage and Faith for Military Personnel and Their Families, a pocket-sized book of readings and songs from many faith traditions. Free copies are available to military chaplains and enlisted personnel of all faiths. Chaplains and ministers should contact Julie Shaw for those copies. Other service personnel may contact Lorraine Dennis at the Church of the Larger Fellowship.

Copies may also be purchased through the UUA Bookstore for $8. An article about the book, edited by the Revs. Matthew and Gail Tittle, both military veterans, is here. The book is similar to one published in 1941 by Beacon Press.

Skinner House books support lay leadership, multigenerational worship

Two books, Serving with Grace: Lay Leadership as a Spiritual Practice by the Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom, the worship and music resources director for the UUA, and Story, Song and Spirit: Fun and Creative Worship Services for All Ages by the Rev. Erika Hewitt, minister of the Live Oak UU Congregation in Goleta, Calif., are available from Skinner House Books.

Serving with Grace includes chapters about learning to say no, mindful meetings, mission and community, relationships with other leaders, and spirituality of service. Wikstrom writes, “Imagine church not as a place led by a few overly taxed people, but one where leadership is a broadly shared ministry that members of the community undertake for the deep joy of it.” This small 90-page book will no doubt be given to many new lay leaders as an introduction to leadership. It is $12 from the UUA Bookstore.

In Story, Song and Spirit, Hewitt notes a “collective anxiety” about doing multigenerational worship because we’re mostly used to sitting and listening. She has created services that call for active participation, including storytelling, music, and acting, that will engage children and adults.

The book includes requirements for nine services, including one for Water Communion and one for Christmas. The book is $12 at the UUA Bookstore.

Music ministry resources at WorshipWeb

InterConnections articles published in recent years about music ministry have been collected at the UUA’s online WorshipWeb. The information includes articles about certifying, supporting, and paying music directors, and building and sustaining music programs.

WorshipWeb is a growing collection of resources about the many facets of worship, including music, technology, and lay leadership, plus readings, sermons, and chalice lightings.

Other music resources at WorshipWeb include a listing of songbooks and hymnals used by congregations, music CDs recorded by congregations, and links to organizations like the UU Musicians Network and a database of new music by UU composers.

Worship resources office is more than WorshipWeb

From December’s InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

A small congregation in Wisconsin reached out to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Public Information Office earlier this year with a very specific question: Are there any CDs of accompaniment for our hymnals when we don’t have anyone to play on Sunday mornings?

In the past that question might have gotten a short answer—no, unfortunately, there are not. Yet thanks to a three-year grant in 2008 from the Barrett Foundation, there is now an office within the Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership that is dedicated to “discovering, developing, and disseminating the resources needed to deepen the worship experiences in our congregations,” as its mission statement says.

Go to the full article.

Filming others may require permission

Q. Our congregation has an excellent choir. Our meetinghouse is a popular place for community dinners and other public events. Recently, one of our fellowship members produced a movie to tell our story to newcomers. Questions are now being raised about copyright and privacy issues. If we sponsor a Christmas fair and we sing Christmas carols from the Unitarian Universalist hymn book, do we need legal permission? Can we film visitors as they walk past our holiday displays? The  movie includes crowd scenes with two or three hundred people present.

A. Peter Bowden, a children’s television producer who also runs UU Planet Ministry & Media, which offers growth consulting and video production services to congregations, has this to say:

I’m not a lawyer, so please conduct your own thorough research and consult experts. However, in my work with producing documentary-style content for broadcast TV we always get a release form with this simple guideline—if you can tell who it is, get a personal release.”

“When filming crowds at public performances and other large events we generally post signs at entrances to the event notifying those attending that we are filming,” he says. “By entering the event they are thereby giving consent. When we do this we take pictures of the signs to document they were posted.”

“In short,” he says, “signed releases for everything! For people, for corporate logos, for property, for pets.  In the spring of 2009 I made a video for our congregation’s capital campaign (http://www.youtube.com/channingchurch). If you look at that video, which is primarily stills edited together, I only used recent footage with people I recognized and thought we’d have a chance of contacting. We went through the video and listed every person clearly recognizable. All of these people were contacted for permission. We went with simple verbal and email permission to be included and were explicit in stating the video would be posted online. I would have liked written releases but the verbal/email is better than many churches do.”

The dangers of not being thorough? “All it takes,” Bowden says, “is one person to discover they are in your video (or their former spouse and child are) and you’ve opened a can of worms. Maybe not a lawsuit, but you can quickly regret not doing the work to get permissions. If you have existing footage you want to use you’ll need to make your own judgment call.”

He adds that some public events, such as newsworthy gatherings, have different standards. “As for music, if it has a valid copyright you need to get permission to use it in a video. Just last week I saw a UU video on YouTube that had a notice posted under it stating that the audio for the video had been disabled due to potential copyright violation. In the YouTube environment people and organizations are getting very sloppy. I advise organizations not to fall into this trap.” Information on obtaining copyright permissions for some UU materials is here.

In addition to his work with congregations,  Bowden created and moderates the website uuplanet.tv, a Unitarian Universalist video network. Through this site he is collecting and sharing all of the best UU television and video content from across the web.

UUA halts sale of Spanish-language hymnal

Sales and distribution of the UUA’s new Spanish-language hymnal, Las Voces del Camino (Voices on the Journey), which was introduced at General Assembly in June, have been halted due to a number of serious errors.

The errors will be corrected and a new edition published, said new UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales. He also promised that there will be a review of the process that lead to publication of the flawed hymnal.

Anyone who has purchased the current edition will receive a replacement when a new edition is published.

For more details read “Sales of new UU Spanish hymnal halted” at uuworld.org.