Praise and Worship Seminar Admin October 30, 2012 Christian Education, Grace Methodist Church Rev. Lu explains the important role a liturgist plays. Story – Abel I.H. Wong, Photo – Ling Yii Yang MIRI – At the invitation of Grace Methodist Church, Rev. Lu Chen Tiong conducted a Praise and Worship seminar for the former’s congregation members from Oct 26 – 27. Rev. Lu is the current Director of Worship and Music Program at Methodist Theological School, Sibu. A Doctorate holder from South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST), Rev. Lu’s area of expertise covers Church Music, Worship, Conducting, Choir, Hymnology, Global Music and Wesleyan Hymns. The event first started on Friday night with the first session about Church Year, Lectionary and Symbols. Rev. Lu first taught the congregation that when it comes to the Christianity calendar, there is actually more than just celebrating Easter and Christmas. In a year there are three seasons: the Preparation (Christmas period), the Festive (Easter period), and the Ordinary Time (rest of the remaining Sundays). During each season there are actually many events to do and things required for the day itself such as the colours needed. One example of it is the Advent period during the Preparation season. During the Advent period (it means “coming” in Latin), five candles are required and placed in a cross positional near the altar with three different colours (one purple on the left that represent forgiveness of sins), one white in the middle (which means joy), and three blue ones on top, bottom and right side (that means truth or a symbol of heaven). And every week the pastor will light one candle until Christmas. Rev. Lu explained that the lectionary of the three seasons is an ordered system of selected readings for liturgical purposes, and is very helpful for musicians and pastors to select appropriate contents for the time being. During the second session on Friday night, Rev. Lu talked about Liturgy which is about an order of words (printed, songs, spoken words) and actions (gestures, dance movements) that the congregation can use to praise and worship God. He encouraged parents to let their children join the church music and dancing activities which will inspire the latter to praise and worship God, as praising is a gift and an opportunity for people to worship. Rev. Lu also emphasized that liturgists should be conscious with the expression during the reading, and encourage the congregation to take sermons as a reflection, challenge and a response as they read and listen to the Word of God. The last session was about Worship leading. Rev. Lu reminded the praise and worship leaders and musicians that their job is to lead the people in worshiping God only, rather than try to please the congregation in a performance manner. One of the attendees was obviously pleased with the seminar. “I fully agree with Rev. Lu that the congregation should play a more active role during worship. We should sing the songs with our hearts because we are worshipping our Father in Heaven,” commented Ling Yii Yang, who is also a choir member of GMC.