Gathering Notes, 2005-02

Happy Groundhog Day!
  • news of Paul Sales
  • Voices United Supplement Development Team meeting
  • Convenor’s Corner: “Hear the Rock Sing” tour of Newfoundland, Jubilation 2004 Songfest in Saskatoon, news from the Ottawa chapter
  • new feature on website: musician’s job postings
  • events & reviews
Our good friend Paul Sales has a new job, and our loss is M&O’s gain…As of early November, Paul is the Gift and Givings Officer for Montreal & Ottawa Conference. Paul has been editor of this newsletter (and of the For Musicians section of Gathering) for many years, while also developing a wonderful music program at Orleans United, outside of Ottawa. His new responsibilities will “…provide challenges for the right side of my brain…” and he will continue to offer musical leadership in many areas of the church. Not to mention, the occasional foray into the world of musical theatre, but that’s another story (G&S fans, watch for reviews!). Thanks for all your good work, Paul – we’ll stay in touch.

The Voices United Supplement Development Team is hard at work, and looking for submissions…As most avid readers of Gathering are aware, the General Council Executive (GCE) has asked for a new supplement to Voices United. At their meeting in April, it was decided to proceed with a joint project with Wood Lake Books, and produce a supplement that would address certain needs, including more content by Canadian (and preferably United Church) writers; more music suitable for children and youth; more world music; and some Contemporary Christian Music, better known as CCM material. Wherever possible, it is expected that material will be post-1996, in other words, fresh material that has not been submitted to the original Voices United committee.
Voices United continues to be a great worship resource, and is used widely throughout our denomination, and is appreciated by many others throughout North America. The proposed date of introduction for the new book is 2006, probably at General Council 39 in Thunder Bay. By this time, VU will have achieved the ripe old age of 10 years — certainly not the end of it’s lifespan, but well into the time when congregations who have been using it for 10 years will be looking for some additional music to use in worship.
After a questionnaire was circulated through Gathering, an astounding 88% of congregations replied (ordinary expectations for return of questionnaires is around 25-30%) and of those, 52% said they would be ready to purchase a supplement in the timeline suggested. This was more than enough to ensure the participation of Wood Lake Books, who had previously published Songs for a Gospel People (known far and wide as “the Green Book”).
The subject of a supplement to Voices United did come up for discussion at General Council 38 (GC38) in Wolfville, NS, in 2003, however, the presentation was incomplete and was turned down by a Commission at that time. Later, GCE learned of the joint project proposal with Wood Lake that had been under discussion before GC38 met. According to those discussions, Wood Lake would bear production and publishing costs while the United Church would have the responsibilities for content and design.
To that end, the Nominations Committee sought names of people who would be interested in being part of the Voices United Supplement Development Committee, and also interviewed for the position of Managing Editor. In late summer, the Church announced that our own co-chair of UCCAM, Dr. Bruce R Harding, would be named to the Managing Editor job, and a few weeks later a committee was created from the names submitted through the Nominations Committee. That committee includes: Sandra Beardsall, Lynn Boothroyd, Gerri Butler-Preston, Rick Gunn, Bill Kervin, Todd MacDonald, Lloyd MacLean, Cindy Watson, Alan Whitmore, Sid Woolfrey, and alternate, Julian Pattison. Wood Lake’s representative on the committee is Mike Schwartzentruber, and Mark MacLean is the national staff person from Church House. (Please note that many of the committee are active members of UCCAM!)
The Supplement Development Team met for the first time in early November, and by all accounts, had a productive and successful meeting. Duties were identified and process was established. There was prayer and singing, good discussion and laughter. Publishers have already been submitting material for the committee to consider, but anyone with material to submit, is encouraged to send it to Bruce as soon as possible. Check , head for the Worship page, and follow the links to Voices United for details.

Convenor’s Corner — “Hear the Rock Sing”, the recent (October, 2004) UCCAM tour of Newfoundland organized by convenor Sid Woolfrey was a great success. See Sid’s report for the details, and then, look around your region and see where that kind of effort could pay off. In Newfoundland, the requested emphasis in the workshops was on strengthening congregational singing, exploring Voices United, and promotion of UCCAM and the new supplement. It was also a great chance for Sid to connect with many of his musical colleagues across the island, either in person, or while setting up the dates for workshops. (T’anks, b’ys, from Ll’yd and Bryce!); convenor Lorne Reinheimer reports on Jubilation 2004 Songfest in Saskatoon with over 200 participants; and convenor Sally Duke tells us how the Ottawa chapter stays in touch with members for planning, education and socials; coming soon, we’ll be running profiles of convenors and UCCAM Board members over the next few issues.
Hear The Rock Sing
October 17 – October 25, 2004
presented by: Sid Woolfrey
UCCAM Convenor; NL & LAB
While attending Worship Matters in Toronto during June 2004 a seed of a thought was planted. As very productive and energetic UCCAM meetings progressed, thoughts about the possibilities for the future of UCCAM began to grow. I talked to Mark MacLean about the chance of organizing some kind of seminar or session in Newfoundland/Labrador that would address some of the musical needs in the churches in the conference. As discussions continued with people like Bruce Harding and Lloyd MacLean, excitement grew and we envisioned many possibilities. Consequently due greatly in part to the ever-present energy, enthusiasm and support of Mark MacLean from the National Office we decided to look further into the idea.
Upon returning to Newfoundland I spend until the end of August in efforts to develop some type of concrete plan of action. Of course we were interested in the aims and goals of UCCAM itself. Specifically we wanted to:
  • increase the visibility of UCCAM in the province
  • bring the “face” of the National Church directly to grass roots United Church members
  • promote the website, membership and functions of UCCAM as an organization
  • promote Worship Matters 2005 in Halifax
Therefore, as provincial convenor, I began contacting various congregations across our province in order to assess their needs as related to music in their churches, as well as their interest in some form of workshops. Basically the goal was to complete a needs and interest assessment. Both proved to be very high throughout the conference.
By mid September we had received the “go ahead” from Mark’s office and the confirmation that Bruce Harding and Lloyd MacLean would be available for a series of workshops. After considerable prayer, thought, deliberation and consultation it was decided that the better route for this first time out would be to focus the “tour” in the smaller rural areas with there is somewhat less access to professional musical development than in St. John’s and Corner Brook. Quickly the “Hear The Rock Sing” Tour began to take shape. We zeroed in on specific initial steps:
  • choosing particular congregations to host each seminar
  • addressing specific regional needs at each session
  • aiming at coordinating this tour to coincide with the conference’s West District meetings
  • scheduling an eight day tour of workshops
After many phone calls and visits, I determined that we needed to vary our host congregations with respect to their participation in National Church events, their use of Voices United, and their typical styles of worship. Honestly, I guess I wanted to challenge us all to learn some new things and stretch ourselves in this conference. Eventually the following schedule was decided:
On Sunday, Bruce and Lloyd would arrive in St. John’s. On Monday morning they would have a luncheon with past NL & LAB UCCAM convenor, Patricia Young, to assess the needs of the St. John’s region for a later date. Each evening from 6:30-9:30 a workshop would be held on specific topics designated as of interest in an area.. That night they would be hosted in Coley’s Point Church on the Bay Roberts charge. The next day they would travel to Clarenville for a session in that region. Next, on Wednesday they would work in a very small section of our conference, Glovertown. Thursday would see them in Gander and finally on Friday we would begin work at the West District meeting.
Friday evening was particularly wonderful since they gave Bruce, Lloyd and I a chance to do a brief session on UCCAM itself and then a music workshop. Finally we closed the evening by participating in their worship service. Saturday would be our biggest day with 6 hours of workshops in Lewisporte that allowed for more in-depth attention to various topics and a greater chance for interaction and discussion. Saturday evening was set aside for some R&R at which a dozen or so people gather for a BBQ and singing. Spirits were high after an incredible week of workshops. It was very nice that several ministers who have newly been settled in the province were able to attend and get to know each other more. Sunday morning we headed back to West District to do the music for their closing worship. Finally Bruce and Lloyd headed for the west coast in Deer Lake for an evening workshop. I am sure that by Monday, their two tired bodies were glad to catch a plane and head back home (or the nearest facsimile).
As convenor, I believe the entire week was an outstanding success in which we got major “bang for our buck”. The following provides some stats about the week:
  • our 5 evening (and Saturday) sessions were attended by about 180 people
  • these people represented 33 different United Church congregations and three Anglican congregations
  • at West District we presented to approximately 40 clergy and 100 district reps from about 80 different congregations, and 6 conference personnel
  • those who attended were church musicians, choir members, choir directors, regular congregants, clergy, other musicians, soloists and observers
  • the musicians ranged from one who was just deciding to become a church musician to one who just celebrated 65 years as a church organist
  • the age range of participants was 23-80 years old
  • instruments utilized in the sessions included organ, piano, guitar, flute, piano- accordion, bongo drums, pump organ, button accordion, maracas, tone block, and as one person mentioned,”the best ten stringed instrument ever invented”, our hands
  • over 150 UCCAM brochures were distributed, 150 brochures announcing Worship Matters 2005, and 150 sheets of resources for the churches
The topics we covered in various sessions included:
  • music from other cultures
  • using various instruments in worship (and a capella singing)
  • introduction of use of harmonies and methods for beginning
  • methods of teaching new music to choirs and congregations
  • introduction to other styles of music (Celtic, jazz, blues, etc)
  • the use of music as an integral part of worship & liturgy, worship committees
  • resource material, promoting Voices United, the new VU Supplement project, and the United Church Resource Distribution Centre (UCRD)
Some reactions to the UCCAM presence in our province:
  • “I’d do the session again tomorrow night if I could.”
  • “I was amazed at how much we could learn in such a short time. I can’t wait to get back to my church and try these things.”
  • “I have learned that its okay to make mistakes, just as long as we are enjoying the music and inspired by it”
  • “I feel proud to be part of the music leadership in my congregation.”
  • “I had no idea that this kind of project was available from the National Church. We really have to do this again soon and maybe even on a smaller scale more often between smaller groups in particular areas.”
  • “Chills went down my spine when I heard “Jesus You Have Come to the Lake Shore” being played by a button-accordion and a piano-accordion.”
  • “Bruce and Lloyd have a great way of explaining things that might seem complicated, that we thought would be over our heads. They put us at ease and taught at our level”
  • “The participation of UCCAM at our district meeting was truly a blessing, an inspiration and a presence of the Spirit in song.”
  • “I am leaving this session full of pride in our National Church and in the part I now know I can play.”
So in conclusion: we presented to approximately 325 people, 40 clergy, 6 conference staff and 80 congregations. UCCAM is definitely a positive and powerful presence in our province. It is viewed as a resource and a friend that I believe will be called upon again. This project was large but absolutely worth everything it took to get it going. As convenor I must thank Mark MacLean and his incredible staff, Bruce Harding and Lloyd MacLean for their undying energy, faith and commitment (not to mention appetite!), Kathy Brett for the hours of brainstorming, discussions and assistance, the local clergy who whole-heartedly supported this project, Bill Bartlett and his staff at NL & LAB Conference office and of course, the participants.
This project has provided me with so much learning, spiritual nurturing, enlightenment, enthusiasm and inspiration that all I can say is, “Thanks to everyone.” This was a wonderful start. Let’s keep it going.
Sincerely and in faith,
Sid Woolfrey
NF & LAB UCCAM Convenor

The Ottawa UCCAM chapter is thriving. For several years, a small group of church musicians have met monthly for a Monday lunch support-and-sharing time at a quiet, centrally located Ottawa restaurant. Our “lunch bunch” shares worship ideas and experiences, suggestions for music and resources and employment concerns. We have also planned two successful worship conferences since 2001, but that’s another story. Over the years we have established friendships, travelled to conferences together, and collaborated in presenting worship services and concerts.
This core group organizes larger UCCAM get-togethers about three times a year on Sunday afternoons, a time when many more folks can participate. Finding a suitable Sunday and reaching all who might be interested is an ongoing challenge. We are mindful that all those interested in worship matters should be welcome, but, so far, our focus has been on the church musician. Topics explored in the general meetings have included repertoire, copyright issues, clergy-musician relations and worship planning. We have plans to discuss rehearsal techniques, the use of a variety of instruments in worship, planning alternate services, such as Taize and Celtic, and ideas for adult and children’s cantatas and musical dramas.
One of our UCCAM projects was a series of hymns sing/jam sessions, held at various churches, where instrumentalists could come and be involved in a worship band, with others free to sing along. The evenings were enjoyable, no matter the number and combination of voices and instruments. The result for one church was the formation of its own band with players of all ages. The presence of some musicians experienced in the fine points of playing guitar or percussion in worship was very helpful, expecially in the beginning.
Anthem readings are popular at the Sunday meetings. Those who lead or accompany choirs find it great fun to sing for a change and to share their ideas. The list of pieces sung is mailed afterwards to everyone on the UCCAM list. One of our dreams is to establish a list of music which can be lent by churches to one another.
We have found that even two or three UCCAM meetings in a year do a lot to broaden everyone’s experience and expose all of us to what is happening in churches around the city.
Future plans for the Ottawa group include an event focussing on the worship of children and young people, which will also help introduce the planned supplement to Voices United. We plan to be present at the annual meeting of the Montreal-Ottawa Conference to promote UCCAM memberhip to all clergy and musicians in the region. Also in the planning stages is a UCCAM meeting in Montreal to listen to the concerns and interests of United Church musicians in that part of the Conference.
Sally Duke
Convenor, Montreal-Ottawa Conference

A recent member-requested addition to our website ( is a “Musician Wanted” column. Of late, we have had quite a few requests from pastoral charges looking to get word out that they are in need of someone to lead their music program, and requests from musicians looking for positions – enough requests that the executive put a bug in the old webminder’s ear. So, check the site often for news and views – you never know when that dream music director’s position will show up! It might be a place to advertise transfer requests, or even choir and musician exchanges. Feel free to make suggestions, and we’ll post them on the site. Soon, we will be able to discuss ideas like these with the entire UCCAM network through (should be operational in the next few weeks). Speaking of discussions, an interesting one is developing around the topic of UCCAM convenors, their duties and responsibilities. In a future newsletter, we will share some of this discussion. Meanwhile, do you know your UCCAM convenor? Check out the list on our website ( and get in touch.
We have recently gained the ability to maintain very up-to-date membership data files, so you may be seeing Gathering Notes popping up in your Inboxes more often as more and more of the world (yes, even our church world) becomes “e-mail friendly”. We are still working on new ways to be able to answer information requests around Gathering subscriptions and membership renewals more quickly.

News & Reviews of UCCAM events….workshop in Hopewell, NS; Worship Matters 2005, Halifax, June 10-12; Worship Odyssey III, Ottawa, October 14-15.
From Hopewell, Heather Facey writes: “As warm November sunshine streamed through the windows and music filled the air, approximately 30 people registered for a day of singing and celebrating God’s love through music, at St. Columba United Church, Hopewell, N.S.
Under the leadership of Lloyd MacLean and his music team of Kate & Gwen MacLean, Adam Johnston, Rhonda Brown and Kirby Coolen, choir members from two rural pastoral charges gathered to discover who they were and what they were about as ministers of music within their charges.
Rev. Dr. Norman Marple of the Hopewell-Eureka-East River Pastoral Charge and Rev. Jeanne Stright, Green Hill-Alma-Merigomish PC opened the day with scripture and prayer.
Throughout the day, Lloyd led the group in singing a variety of songs in a variety of ways. There was a session on worship planning and resources. Participants had time to examine a number of publications, CDs, songbooks and Web-sites that would be helpful. Wearing his “Mr. UCCAM” hat, Lloyd took the opportunity to promote the association of musicians, as well.
Time was spent exploring styles of worship such as Taize, Contemporary, Celtic and Blended.
Music and songs that coincided with the seasons of the church year and the lectionary, were examined as to content and language before they were sung.
The finale for the day was spent learning new material. Lloyd’s team was joined by musicians from the host charge and voices were raised as a band comprised of dueling keyboard players, drummers, violinists and guitarists accompanied an exuberant group of singers. The more than century-old building reverberated with harmonies and sounds of joy over which its Scottish founders would have ,no doubt, raised their eyebrows in dismay.
As old and new friends from Green Hill-Alma made their way home, Lloyd remained behind to give musical direction and technical advice to the host group as they prepared for an ecumenical Remembrance Day Service they were hosting later in the week.
It was an invigorating day and both a testament to the power of music and the gift that Lloyd MacLean is moved to share with others.”
Worship Matters is hitting the East Coast in June, 2005. Halifax is host city for the latest edition of our own UCCAM national symposium on Word, Music and Liturgical Arts. Last year, more than 300 people met at Eglinton-St George’s United in Toronto for three days of worship and workshops with presenters from across the country, some international guests presenters, and had a terrific time.
Details for WM2005 are available at — check it out!Worship Odyssey III is one of the most successful regional events, sponsored by the Ottawa chapter of UCCAM, and it is being held in October. Odyssesy I and II were in 2001 and 2003, and this year’s focus is on Children and Youth Ministries. For additional information, e-mail

Speaking of successful regional events, Epiphany Explorations took place again recently in Victoria, BC. Watch for a report from convenor Fran Pollet in our next newsletter. And if there is something going on in your area, please let us know so we can spread the word, either to help promote the event or to present a review.
As always, we would encourage you to talk about UCCAM to anyone involved in worship planning and presentation, and if they are not already members, ask them to take a look at our group and consider joining. Our church has more than 3000 pastoral charges across the country, yet our membership stands at something over 300. We have lots of room for growth!
As our mission statement says: “UCCAM exists for the mutual encouragement and support of those who provide musical leadership in the worship of the local congregations, presbyteries, Conferences and General Council of The United Church of Canada and does this by means of workshops, consultations, publications and opportunities to work together for the greater glory of God.”

(Do I hear an Amen, church?)

That’s all for now. This is Mr UCCAM, Lloyd MacLean, signing off from the snowbound East.
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