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The Medium of Story is the Message in Multicultural Worship

East End Fellowship is an unusually multicultural and economically diverse worship community in Richmond VA. Nearly half of its congregants are black and another 10% are from various non-American groups. Its range of theological backgrounds run from Pentecostalism to traditions suspicious of Pentecostalism, and its economic scale runs from well-to-do to homeless. With all of that diversity, this Presbyterian congregation has had to find a way to assure that every voice is heard. It has also had to learn to communicate its good news in a variety of ways, according to an article on the website of The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, which helps congregations renew worship. The East End Fellowship's worship leadership staff has incorporated the dictum that the medium is the message; it works each week to identify the ways its various constituent groups normally communicate and uses those idioms in worship. At the heart of the method is the use of storytelling to convey Bible truth. For example, an actress member of the church told the story of Ruth from the perspective of a neighborhood gossiper while a choreographer danced the story and a rapper expounded on whatever truth was being revealed. To get a feel for what East End does, explore the perspective of the church's Music Director, David Bailey, and listen to the explication of the Story of Ruth as it was presented in a worship service. For more on multicultural worship, see our article, "Best Resources for Sermons" and search multicultural worship on the site's search feature.

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