Our worship style tends to be a bit more formal than informal, and a tad more traditional than contemporary. Weekly services are usually planned around a structure that includes gathering, praise, hearing the word (one or more readings from the Bible), responding to the word, prayers of the people, and sending. Within that structure, however, there is room for variety, informality, and spontaneity—room for fresh expressions of our faith, whether in word or song. We believe the purpose and goal of worship is to experience joyful communion with one another and with God; to share the burdens of our community, our city, and our world; and to be inspired and renewed for our daily call to be God’s hands, feet, and voice in the world around us.
Music is an integral part of worship at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church.
Most of the congregational singing is from three books – Hymnal: A Worship Book (the denominational hymnal), Sing the Journey and Sing the Story, recently published supplemental song books with more contemporary hymns and worship songs. Accompaniment is typically provided by organ, piano, clavinova, or guitar, and occasionally strings, electric bass, or various rhythm instruments. During the season of Advent, congregational singing is accompanied by a full orchestra!
Our congregation is blessed with many talented musicians (including pastors, Lois and Tom Harder, both of whom have degrees in music and perform frequently with their family band “Five Times Harder,” in the wider community). Ad hoc vocal and/or instrumental ensembles are occasionally organized for special services and events. Vocal ensembles are sometimes chosen to present special music. Members of our congregation share their musical talents in a variety of ways: singing in one of the choirs, helping accompany congregational singing, providing special music during the summer months, singing in men’s and women’s ensembles, playing in the Advent orchestra, participating in the special Lenten services, and leading pre-service singing.
The Chancel Choir practices weekly and sings September through the first Sunday in June. The Shining Lights choir is a group for our youngest church members that practices and sings periodically during the year. Our high school and middle school youth are encouraged to share their musical abilities by singing together occasionally during the year, signing up for special music during the summer, and joining the Advent Orchestra. Andrew Voth directs the Chancel Choir. Linda Buller and Galen Shriner are the church’s organists and DeAnn Diller is the regular pianist. Other pianists are occasionally needed as well, so dust off your pianos and keep your fingers limber.