Craig church hosting event that intertwines music, spirituality

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If you go …

What: “Circle Drumming and Spiritual Formation”

When: 3 to 5 p.m. today

Where: First Congregational United Church of Christ, 630 Green St.

— The drum circle seminar will blend spirituality with elements of music for a shared community experience. The church’s interim pastor, Rev. Ginger Taylor, will lead the session with Martha Jones, of Grand Junction. The two also will lead a service at 10 a.m. Sunday called “Dynamics in Worship,” focusing on Scriptures, music and prayer. All are welcome to attend. For more information, call 824-6836.

Rev. Ginger Taylor wants to bring spiritual energy to Craig.

Taylor, interim pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, will host “Circle Drumming and Spiritual Formation,” a communal gathering open to people of all faiths who want to get in touch with their spirituality through music and sound.

The session begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Congregational, 630 Green St.

“It’s all about spending time together,” Taylor said. “We’ll be experimenting with different rhythms, leadership and spontaneity. Sometimes it’ll be soft, sometimes loud, sometimes fast-paced, sometimes slow. It’ll be like a jam session.”

Taylor said the idea of a drum circle is one that transcends the boundaries of any one faith, which is why she wants to keep the event “inter-religious” and “open to anyone wanting to experiment with how their faith is expressed.”

“Theology is the way we describe God in words, but music, dance and things like that cross over from different religions,” she said. “The process involves just letting go of the verbal and opening up to the space where consciousness is in freeform with other spirits. It’s a kind of meditation.”

Taylor said she will have different kinds of instruments ready for about 75 people, though she hopes people will show up with a wide variety of drums.

“We might see tom-toms, African drums, bongos, but we can even make it work with a pot and a spoon,” she said. “We might even have other percussion things, like maracas and tambourines.”

Martha Jones, a musical director for Grand Junction’s First Congregational United Church of Christ, will join Taylor in leading the seminar.

“She trained at an ashram in Red Feather Lakes for circle drumming for spiritual practice and formation,” Taylor said.

Taylor and Jones have worked on religious retreats around Colorado before, but this will be the first centered around the drum circle activity. The two will also lead a service at 10 a.m. Sunday titled “Dynamics in Worship.”

“We’ll have drums, singing, storytelling — it’s all about the transformative power of music,” Taylor said.

The challenge of serving her church in a different style is not a new one for Taylor. As an interim pastor, she goes where she is needed.

“I’ve worked in parishes, homeless shelters, I’ve been a chaplain at a school,” she said. “My last church was in New Orleans helping out after (hurricanes) Katrina and Rita.”

Taylor was first ordained 25 years ago and has also worked with churches in Boulder, Montrose and Gunnison. She began at Craig’s First Congregational in November 2010.

“It’s a different kind of racial predominance here for me, especially compared to New Orleans,” she said. “But, people are people wherever you go.”

Taylor said she hopes the Craig community will embrace the prospect of a drum circle as a regular activity.

“We’re expecting this to be joyful and heart-filled, and if there’s a heart for it, we’ll continue it,” she said.

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