Beginning this weekend and running through the first Sunday in August, Montreat Conference Center will host its nationally acclaimed Summer Worship Series.
“It is our distinct privilege to bring to Montreat some of the best preachers in the country,” said Pete Peery, Montreat’s president.
The Summer Worship Series includes an hour-long service of worship and, beforehand, an opportunity to study with the summer’s theologian in residence.
All are invited and welcome to attend.
A planning team of musicians, liturgists, worship and arts professionals meets year-round to make the Sunday morning series both innovative and inspirational, intentionally reflecting a faith undergirded by the past, relative to present realities and loyal to mainline Presbyterians’ reforming traditions.
“Our hope is to model for the whole church a vibrant synergy that emerges in worship when these elements are threaded through together around the Word proclaimed,” Peery said.
The guest preacher for Sunday, June 2, is Matthew Flemming, who teaches preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. He previously taught at Princeton Theological Seminary and Emory University. His sermon, “The Proclamation of the Trivialized Preacher” comes from Acts: 2:36-41, in which Peter promises followers of Jesus the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“Each worship service is carefully crafted around the preacher’s text for the day,” Peery said. “Worship is designed to enlarge the experience through art, music and liturgy.”
William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, is Montreat’s 2013 Summer Theologian in Residence. He has written several books, including The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder and Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor.
“I am convinced that what scripture does most fundamentally is kindle wonder,” Brown said. “Scripture is typically read to prove a point, find answers, formulate dogma and most tragically, induce shame and promote violence.”
His class — every Sunday in July — will read scripture differently, taking passages from both Old and New Testaments and setting aside familiar presumptions and looking instead with transforming wonder.
Mary Louise Bringle, liturgist for the Summer Worship Series, is professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Brevard College and a hymn writer who recently served as chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song.
Conference center Musician Eric Wall is well known for his vast realm of musical genres. Wall, director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, has a unique gift of being able to join in one voice people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the power of music in worship.
Other guest ministers for the summer include Luke Timothy Johnson from the Candler School of Theology, Atlanta (June 9); Rev. Christopher Edmonston of White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C. (June 16); Rev. Fairfax Fair of First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, Mich. (June 23); Rev. Richard Ray of Montreat, N.C. (June 30); Rev. Dave Davis of Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton, N.J. (July 7); Rev. Nora Tubbs Tisdale of Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn. (July 14); Rev. Paul Roberts of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta (July 21); Rev. Michael Lindvall from New York City’s Brick Presbyterian Church (July 28); and Rev. Fleming Rutledge of Rye Brook, N.Y. (August 4).
All Sunday worship services are held in Anderson Auditorium at 10:30 a.m., with child care available for children six months through completed kindergarten at the Updike Child Care Center on Texas Road.
Dr. Brown’s Sunday morning study begins on Sunday, July 7, at 9 a.m. in the Walkup Building in Montreat.