Greetings from Lake Junaluska! You may have been wondering where I was this past Sunday... well I have been in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. I am attending Music and Worship Arts week in Lake J (sponsored by the Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians.) Lake J is a transformative place; this place is holy ground. Tucked away in the mountain range is a quiet place to worship, rejuvenate, relax, pray, and listen for God. If you have never visited Lake J, I encourage you to do so.

I have spent a portion of my time here attending seminars about worship planning and integrating global music into our “western worship styles.” Before I speak more about that, however, I feel as though I should turn to our corporate worship. It will soon be one year since you welcomed me into your family at Dyersburg FUMC, and what a year it has been! In these past few days, I have reflected on our year together. Here are some thoughts I have had... I believe our family is made up of three types of people (as far is worship and music is concerned): 1) those that are happy with our music, 2) those that wish we would sing more “modern” music (what a loaded word!!!), and 3) those that wonder why we’ve changed the music that “we’ve always done.”

I want you to be in a spirit of prayer about our corporate worship. Prayerfully consider what it means to worship. To worship the God of the universe. To worship the God of ALL peoples. To worship the God of ALL nations. To worship the God of creation. Consider new and different ways to worship the awe - inspiring God who breathed life into creation, into us, into our worship. I pray that you will have an open heart to the movement of the Holy Spirit and to the movement of God among us. I pray that you will be open to new ways of worship... to new traditions... to new music... Of course we will never lose our heritage of rich worship that we so love! But let us pray for an openness of heart for new traditions. Our God is an awesome God. Let us not limit ourselves in our worship of the God of the universe, the God of all creation, and the God of all people.

Let us not grow weary in our work of love.

Grace and Peace, Dakota