Worship apprentices provide a resource for the church

December 11, 2019 | Web First
Conrad Grebel University College | Special to Canadian Mennonite
Students in the Worship Apprentice Program at Conrad Grebel University College, including Rowan Martin (left) and Eunice Femi-Gege (right), tested their skills by leading worship at St. Agatha (Ont.) Mennonite Church on Nov. 17. (Photo by Fred W. Martin)

Every Tuesday, a diverse team of University of Waterloo students gathers for prayer, small group discussion, song teaching and worship-service planning. These students are part of the Worship Apprentice Program offered by Conrad Grebel University College’s Music Department as a skill-building opportunity within the Church Music and Worship Program. 

This program includes a practical course, a scholarship and attendance at a worship conference. The practical course offers experience in developing and leading church worship services. Students put their theoretical knowledge to work when together they design and lead two very different types of services at churches during the course. 

“One factor that inspired the Worship Apprentice Program was the desire to give students the chance to develop their skills in worship leadership,” says Professor Kate Steiner, director of the Church Music and Worship Program. “Students at the University of Waterloo are capable leaders, which means that those who are engaged in worship will end up in leadership positions in their churches. We wanted to give students a broader perspective on worship and time to reflect before they take up those leadership positions.”

“I was drawn to the opportunity to explore how the best elements of worship from multiple traditions could be combined into a single accessible and transformative service,” says Mykayla Turner, a music and health studies student. “I hope that the knowledge and experience gained through this program will make me more confident while leading worship.”

Matthias Mostert, a peace and conflict studies and French student, says of the understanding he has gained: “Being exposed to different styles of worship through relationship with my classmates, rather than through a textbook, has broadened my appreciation for the spectrum of Christian worship styles and the people who bring them to life.”

“The students that participate in this program are the future of the church in North America,” says Steiner. “Every time I meet with these students I get really excited for the future. They are intentional, thoughtful, engaged students, who come with a variety of insights and desires for worship. We see this program as an opportunity for churches to rejuvenate their worship or to reach out beyond their usual song set.” 

Churches interested in hosting a service planned by students in Grebel’s Worship Apprentice Program can contact Kate Steiner ksteiner@uwaterloo.ca.

Students in the Worship Apprentice Program at Conrad Grebel University College, including Rowan Martin (left) and Eunice Femi-Gege (right), tested their skills by leading worship at St. Agatha (Ont.) Mennonite Church on Nov. 17. (Photo by Fred W. Martin)

Students in the Worship Apprentice Program at Conrad Grebel University College come from a wide range of academic programs and church denominations. Pictured from left to right: Chris Fischer, Professor Kate Steiner, Matthias Mostert, Eunice Femi-Gege, Mykayla Turner and Rowan Martin. (Photo by Margaret Gissing)

When students in Grebel’s Worship Apprentice Program led worship at St. Agatha (Ont.) Mennonite Church in November, Colin Friesen, left, a master of theological studies student, joined them and gave the message. Also pictured, from left to right: Rowan Martin, Matthias Mostert, Yeabsra Agonfer, Eunice Femi-Gege, and Mykayla Turner. (Photo by Fred W. Martin)

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Canadian Mennonite Magazine,
In 1993 I joined a small house church cluster in Kitchener-Waterloo. Being given the opportunity to facilitate the worship was significant with my recovery with mental health issues.
Earlier I had attended tent revival meetings led by the late George Brunk. I experienced the call to conversion as a negative experience, and almost lost my faith.
I was convinced I must leave the church.
Thank you to the Kitchener Waterloo House Churches who I understand have provided many leaders in/ and outside the Mennonite Church.
Best regards, Myron Steinman

Please allow me to make some corrections to my entry from December 12, 2019:

I would like to thank the Kitchener-Waterloo House Churches.
As a young adult in the early 1980's through to 2000 I was given the opportunity to facilitate with worship in a house church setting. This was formative with my recovery with psychiatric symptoms.

At the time I felt I must leave the church due to tent revival meetings held locally (Baden/New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada) led by an evangelist from United States of America.

My recovery, however, perhaps with depression? began much earlier.

I should remember in the mid 1970's when I was enabled to help teach the youth Sunday School class in my Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada) with a team of teachers when I was age 17.

I should also remember Ms. Taylor who taught religious studies in the public school system (Hickson (Ontario, Canada) from grade 5 to grade 7. I was given a Gideon NT and signed my name on what was called the sinner's prayer.

My Christian journey has since been influenced by men of faith like Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Karen Armstrong and authors too numerous to mention. I did meet Mr. Borg in person when the United Church sponsored a forum with him in the City of Kitchener (Ontario, Canada).

There are many others where face to face contact was so very significant with the process of recovery. I fear I may embarrass them if I mentioned their name on a public forum eh

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