It is difficult to imagine 
Christmas without singing. 

As we approach the season of carols this year, we wonder… 

will we be able to light our candles and sing our “Silent Nights?” 

But what if... instead of turning away from this moment in sorrow, we embrace it and turn our attention toward the stories of the indelible human spirit that has always been accompanied by the power of music to illuminate the dark night? What if we found other ways–unforgettable ways– to fill the void left by our loss? To "fill the night with music and light?" What if we gain more insight about the significance of the birth of Jesus, the life that was the "light" for the people?

This worship series is being developed for churches whether they are producing online, pre-recorded, live video conference, or adapted in-person worship.

It is important to find many adaptations to celebrate the season. So we are creating resources not only for Sunday mornings, but also for activities to "fill the night with music and light" outside of "regular" worship (because this Advent/Christmas will not be "regular" at all).

 Watch the Get Ready Webinar!

Wondering if this series is right for your community and want to "see" what's in it? 

Join Dr. Marcia McFee as she talks about the theme of the series, what's in it, and how to get ready for an amazing journey through Advent/Christmas! Click on the video to watch on this page or go directly to the video on YouTube to see the Timeline and scrub to find out about all the various materials.

Powerful stories

During this series, individuals and small groups will witness and reflect on documentary accounts of some of the most horrific circumstances that were transformed by moments of music: a holocaust prison transformed into a hope-filled and defiant concert hall; a juvenile prison where the creation of a musical, out of the stories of the girl's lives, speaks of love withheld and reclaimed; a symphony chorus that has filled the lungs of protestors around the world even as they perished at the hand of the oppressive regimes and natural disasters; the music of enslaved people that now shapes a movement of continued work for justice. A separate "film festival" for children is being created by WDS Associate, Mark Burrows.

Carols of Resistance

Even Christmas carols have played a role in the yearning for a new and better day. Each week we encounter a familiar "carol of resistance” whose words pierced the terrors of the world at their inception and even now.

Hope in the face of despair, 

love in the face of hate, 

joy in the face of oppression, 

and the work for peace instead of apathy in our communities…

This is what we discover in the narratives of the prophet Isaiah, the first chapters of the biographies of Jesus according to the Gospel authors, the stories of music in the midst of persecution and death, and the music of our own lives. 

We will let music appreciation fill our souls and imaginations so that when we can sing together and en masse again, it will be with a renewed gusto we’ve never experienced before. 

Here is what is included!

  • Six fully-scripted worship experiences, including all words, music suggestions (and ways to do it when the usual ways are not safe), children’s time, and suggestions for ritual action like lighting the Advent wreath.
  • Ideas for Blue Christmas and Christmas Eve that incorporate pilgrimages to the church for no-touch stational experiences.
  • Sermon fodder
  • Original Introit and prayer music by composer Mark Miller, anthem suggestions from Mark’s repertoire, and a special series of webinar tutorials for learning step-by-step to create virtual choir videos.
  • A handbell benediction for the services and suggestions for handbell pieces that can be done safely distanced by guest expert Stephanie Rhoades
  • Visual and media ideas, including how to bring your sanctuary beauty into the homes of your folks
  • A film festival for individuals or small groups that highlights our themes each week using films that tell powerful stories of music in hard times. 
  • WDS children’s expert, Mark Burrows created a separate film festival for the kiddos too for educational folks to utilize! AND he created puppet play for Christmas Eve again this year (sold separately). 
  • Logo and video trailers ready to be customized for your church.
  • Access to a community of people who will be crowdsourcing resources with each other, making the load lighter!

Musicians as leaders

Marcia McFee and Mark Miller are known to many churches, pastors, and musicians as creators of powerful liturgy and song. They are also known for their deep love of those they serve and fervent passion for their art and ministry. This Fall, they will lead pastors, music directors, musicians, and vocal and handbell choir members in preparing for an Advent/Christmas season like no other. Choirs and ensembles preparing for this worship series will meet together via videoconference with them this Fall to be instructed in creating recorded compilation video songs and anthems to share with their congregations–whether online or projected in adapted in-person gatherings. They will spend time reflecting with Dr. McFee on the documentaries in preparation for being leaders of small groups for their congregations during Advent if they so choose. 

Worship Design Studio is partnering with the Center for Congregational Song to develop “Park, Porch and Sidewalk Sings” for neighborhoods in their cities and towns, filling the night with music (following safety protocols). 

Bottom line: Marcia and Mark and the rest of the design team are excited to bring a sense of purpose and leadership to church musicians who may be feeling the sorrows of separation acutely right now.

We Believe

The theme anthem and title of this series, "I Believe," is a beloved musical arrangement of an anonymous Jewish poem found scrawled on a wall during the Holocaust. We believe that we are called to examine humanity's history of pain accompanied by fear that leads to oppression and violence of one people against another. This is the world into which Jesus was born, and through which his teachings would challenge and call for a new way of being in relationship with each other. This Advent and Christmas, let us fill the night with music and light and affirm and act on the reasons why we can still "believe, even when" we are discouraged.

Get the series now! Here's the process...

Your purchase of this series also includes free access to the Worship Design Studio 3.0 App! During the purchase process, you will be invited to create a member account to the WDS App if you are not already a member (if you are, you will be invited to sign into your existing account). Please note that we have a new website now! If you formerly accessed the Worship Design Studio through a yearly subscription, you are still able to access all the subscribers-only materials on our new WDS 3.0 App. All of our community members, including subscribers and free members, are invited to access the "I Believe Even When..." series through our new site.

After purchasing with your credit card, you will have instant access to the materials in the App. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail to your inbox. Contact us after purchase if you have need of a hardship rebate in this time of pandemic. 

Thank you for your support that helps sustain this ministry. 

If your church is suffering financially and would not be able to afford these materials, please feel free to contact us about a discount: [email protected]