New Hope United Methodist Church

Brunswick, Maryland

Project Director: Rev. Katie Hamilton

To cultivate an appreciation of the liturgical year and the meaning of specific acts of worship in order to facilitate creative participation and planning, and to welcome people of all ages into all aspects of gathered worship.

Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community. 

Many people have lost touch with the sacred rhythm of the liturgical year and the story of faith that it tells. Some never knew its meaning in the first place. We hope to implement a program of education and formation that teaches our congregation about the liturgical year, invites deeper creative participation in it, and involves people of all ages in our corporate worship life in every season. 

What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generatetheological reflection and shape your project? 

How can the liturgical season of worship resonate more deeply with the rhythms of our modern, everyday lives?  

How can we more fully include children in our worship services and sacred practices? 

How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?

Our project will educate our congregation about the annual rhythm of the liturgical calendar, and the particular meanings and emphases of each season. By drawing attention to these sacred rhythms, we hope to deepen our congregation's experience of the larger faith story we tell over and over again, year after year after year. This focus on God's faithfulness throughout time will invite us all to reflect on how God is with us in every season.  

Our project will also focus on providing developmentally-appropriate worship materials for children in our congregation. Rather than keeping children busy during worship, we want to equip them (and the adults who worship with them) to engage more deeply in the rituals of our corporate worship. 

What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

Some members of our congregation are deeply familiar with the liturgical year; others aren't aware of this pattern to our life together. Finding ways to engage this topic that respects the varying experiences of our congregation will be a challenge.  

And while our congregation is very welcoming of children, it will still be a challenge to find materials and activities that engage our youngest worshipers and don't seem disruptive or distracting to older congregants. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

We are excited to learn what other projects grant recipients have undertaken, and specifically how they have navigated the (many!) unique challenges that come with life in a congregation. We are particularly interested in what others have learned through projects with a particular intergenerational focus, as we hope true intergenerational ministry will be a key feature of our project.