HI, I’m Jo Anne Taylor, pastor of First United Methodist Church in New Ulm, MN. Before God called me to pastor this church, I served as a Worship pastor for Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis, MN. Though I am currently serving a United Methodist congregation, I do so as an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the the Evangelical Covenant Church.
I have performed as alto soloist with the Oregon Bach Festival, the Dale Warland Singers, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony. Recording credits include solo tracks with the Kansas City Chorale (Nimbus Records: Alleluia, an American Hymnbook; Fern Hill), Rose Ensemble (Season of Angels; Slavic Holiday) and the Dale Warland Singers (Bernstein & Britten). I have taught voice and choral music at every level from preschool to college for more than 25 years.
But all that pales when compared to my calling into ministry. In 2007, I “gave up” singing to begin study toward a Master of Divinity degree. As I made my way through seminary and discovered a deepening sense that God asks more of us than we are usually willing to give, I began to recognize that everything I ever learned about the art of singing and the practice of teaching applied to ministry. I still sing every day, and I hope you do, too.
Now for some ground rules as we move forward:
1. I promise to post regularly, at least to share my sermon for the week. Some weeks, I’ll have more.
2. I won’t be using old material, as a rule. My first post – “God sings!” – seemed a good introduction to my personal theology of music and worship. It tells you a lot about who I am, and who I think God is. I wanted to get that foundation laid right away, but now it is my hope to build on that foundation with new bricks. One by one.
3. I invite you to leave me comments and interact with what you see here. I especially invite you to disagree with me – we all need more frank discussion in our lives, I think. “As iron sharpens iron… (Proverbs 27:17).” I promise to respond to comments that pertain to the topic under discussion. I promise to keep this blog as spam-free as possible .
4. That said, let’s keep our discourse civil, shall we? I am blessed to serve in the Evangelical Covenant Church, and one thing we affirm is something called “Freedom in Christ.” You can learn more about it here. That freedom allows us to differ on non-essentials while we agree on this fundamental belief: Jesus Christ is Lord. (We agree on some other stuff, too, but this is enough to get the conversation started.)
Four Rules is plenty.