Chris Duthie-Jung

 Spirit & Song
A Seeker’s Guide for Liturgy and Prayer

Thomas Tomaszek (Ed.), OCP Publications, Oregon USA, 1999

Spirit & Sing (S&S) is a worship music resource designed for youth and young adult ministries, Christian Schools and tertiary chaplaincies. It is a compendium that brings together the best of (more) contemporary Catholic Christian worship music and arranges it in a very helpful thematic and liturgical fashion.

What does this mean in practice? S&S is built around the celebration of Eucharist (communion) and is designed to aid the fitting of music to the different part of the worship/liturgy. Its Catholic origins are obvious but music leaders from other denominations should find the structure useful in preparing communion services or just identifying appropriate ‘gathering’, prayer and praise’ or Psalm based songs S&S offers a strong communal emphasis that I find refreshing counterbalance to the me and Jesus; focus of some other popular music sources. The personal is still very much there but the flavour is more that of the body of Christ worshipping together. The mission aspect, the sending out is also very strong. It is American, and so includes Spanish hymns where we would slot in the Māori and Pacific Island languages. As usual, local contextualisation is required.

But perhaps most user friendly of all are the formats in which the resource is available. 9(!) CDs include quality recorded band versions of all 213 songs from Amy Grant’s, ‘They Word’, to Micheal Joncas, ‘On Eagles Wings , to Angnsano and Tomaszek’s great new, ‘Go Make A Difference’. I find that with the CD played on a good stereo, musicians just join in and within five minutes are ready to lead a new song! Keyboard and separate (smaller and cheaper) assembly/guitar editions are available with helpful, lie-flat, spiral binding.

Available from Pleroma Christian Supplies (free phone 0508 988 988).

Lights, Camera… Faith!
A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture
(Movie Lectionary)

Malone and Pacette, Pauline Books & Media, Boston USA 2002

It had to happen really. With all of the emphasis on visual imagery amongst contemporary young people, someone somewhere had to put together a resource that linked movies to scriptural themes. Not unexpectedly, it is an American publication; and is not lightweight!

Lights, Camera…Faith! comes in three volumes to match Cycles A, B and C of the Christian Lectionary. This means that every single Sunday is lined up with a movie in a way that assists youth ministers, preachers and anyone else who could use movie references, to visually illustrate the Gospel message.

Each weekly chapter names the Sunday of the Year, the Lectionary Scripture references and the correlated movie (71 per Cycle). A film synopsis is provided along with a commentary on the films production. direction etc. A Dialogue with the Gospel section then lines up the movie and Gospel, further clarifying things with discussion about key scenes and themes. Reflection questions and comments are provided and then a short prayer focus completes the session.

But does it work? Like any ministry resource it will be most effective in the hands of people who know their subject. Assuming familiarity with the movie in question, I would venture that this is one of the most helpful resources we’ve seen for a while. All of the donkey work is taken out of the use of movies in ministry allowing the leader to confidently facilitate helpful and critical discussion and/or sharing around a biblical theme. It is not even necessary to show anything of the film at all, though some careful thought will be needed as to how one will move on to themes rather than staying with unending ‘do you remember the bit where…’ comments.

Applications of Lights…seem to me to be very broad. The authors name preachers (homilists), parish discussion groups, young adult groups, film educators, and professionals and we just have to add youth ministry leaders.

We know how much the Millennial Generation and the Gen Xers love their movies – here’s the easy way of using this interest in your ministry.

Cycles A and B available from Pleroma Christian Supplies (free phone 0508 988 988) for $62.50 each.

Reviews by Chris Duthie-Jung