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Young writers sought to produce new worship resources for black congregations

Young African-American United Methodists are being sought to write liturgies, prayers and calls to worship for an updated Africana worship series that will focus on the emerging music and worship practices in black congregations from the voices of young people.

“We’re asking youth and young adults ages 16-35 of the African diaspora to submit examples of new liturgy for today and beyond that they have written,” said Cheryl LaTanya Walker, director of black congregational ministries at Discipleship Ministries, who is leading the project. “From those samples, we will choose 20 young people to participate in a Writing Immersion event in April.”

The new worship resources will update the original Africana Worship Series, a three-book worship guide that was developed in 2006-08 and is still being used by churches worldwide, Walker said.

The Rev. Dr. Safiyah Fousa, assistant professor of Christian worship and Christian ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Wesley Seminary, will serve as the general editor for the new Discipleship Ministries resource.

Writing samples that are spiritually sound and Wesleyan-focused should be emailed to Fousa at safiyah.fosua@indwes.edu before Feb 21.

Writers selected for the Writing Immersion will be notified by Walker on March 15 and invited to attend the intensive writing experience April 28-30 at the Discipleship Ministries office in Nashville.In addition to the liturgies,

In addition to the liturgies, prayers and calls to worship produced by the 20 selected writers, Walker said all of the writing examples submitted will also be included in the updated resource, which is known as Africana 2.

When completed, Africana 2 will be available digitally and will include not only the new liturgy, but also resources from the original Africana Worship Series, Walker said.

Africana 2 will also supplement the Africana Hymnal Project, a resource that was approved by the 2012 General Conference to serve as a bridge between traditional and emerging music and worship practices in black United Methodist congregations. The project was a multiyear effort to provide music and worship resources from African-American traditions and to identify and preserve the rich history of music forms born out of slavery.

The Africana Hymnal Project includes a USB flash drive with 150 songs organized around the seasons of the year, the sacramental life of the congregation and the special days of the black church; a DVD of the documentary film, “Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music,” which traces the music’s history and invites viewers to see and experience the ways it is being kept alive, and a 48-page study guide for the DVD.

The projected release date for Africana 2 will be spring 2018. For more information, contact Walker at cwalker@UMCdiscipleship.org or 615-340-7167.

 

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