Movement in Worship & Psalm Drummers
Summer School, Brighton, July 2013
We knew we were in for something special when we got the message that both the drumming stream and the movement stream at this year’s Summer School were full! It was a truly international school too, with numerous participants from around Europe and the USA.
Because the school has a strong mission focus, the first 2-3 days are a densely packed time of impartation and releasing so that when we go out to worship and pray in public we know who we are in God, why we are there and what we are trying to do.
Andy Au and Kirsty Hallett (Movement in Worship) have built a solid set of teaching about this with an eye to movement, dance, flags, banners and staffs; this also works brilliantly for the drummers, so it was great to have this teaching as a common foundation. The format brings both streams together for the initial teaching; the streams then have separate time to work on their own areas and come back together to combine what we have developed.
Then comes the mission element. The first of these was the biggest physical challenge as it was at an Iron Age hill fort – which are always on top of a hill. With drums, banners and staffs to be transported we were glad of the land owners’ Landrover! There was something remarkable about drumming and moving our prayers from a spot where you could see the City of Brighton, the Isle of Wight and the South Downs just by turning round. Before we left, as we gathered round the owners of that land to pray for them, we experienced one of those moments when God, His will and our hope for His purposes came together.
Brighthelm Gardens, in the centre of busy Brighton, is a gathering place for all kinds of people, so taking our prayers into that space was different again – a huge urban contrast after the wide open skies of the day before. This was a much more concrete, grounded approach to prayer: the needs of some of the people around us were all too clear, and we prayed fervently.
The following day was the first in a series of events called “Oasis: life; rhythm; spirit” held by City Gate Church. There were food stalls, face-painting, sandcastle-building and opportunities for people to receive prayer. The summer school participants drummed and danced, and the sun shone!
That was all the formal stuff. What is impossible to communicate is the warmth and depth of relationship which developed among the school, and the hundreds of laughs we had while getting it wrong together as well as seeing each other succeed. There were two fantastic social evenings (a BBQ and a fish and chip supper) and the sheer joy of exploring creative approaches to worship and prayer with like-minded people.
If you’ve never tried it, start thinking about how you can get there next year, in Edinburgh!