Anyone who’s been in services where large groups read aloud knows the problems that arise:
- when everyone reads together, the piece gets slower and slower, and voices flatten to a drone, erasing all the energy and emotion of the original
- when people take turns reading, two or three people will start to read at the same time, then everyone will stop, look around, and wait for permission to go on – again erasing all of the spiritual possibilities of the original
We’ve solved these twin problems by evolving different ways to read liturgy aloud. In our printed services, each piece is labeled with how we will read it, making it easier for guests and new members to join in.
Listen – some of our poem/prayers are assigned to a reader in advance and as the piece is read the rest of us listen
Call/Response – some liturgical moments are call and response – the first line is called out and the group responds by repeating the line or reading a second line
Readers/All – sometimes a liturgical piece is divided into parts, with individual voices reading some lines and the entire group reading other lines
All – some pieces, especially short ones, may be read all together
Fringes – In “Fringes” style we read through a piece line by line in order. Any one or two or more people who want to read a line does so. Usually, people read the lines or words that most meaningful to them in the morning. This creates a poem within a poem – the lines that matter most to folks on any one day have more voices, so are louder, which means the exact same poem means something different each time it is read.
we’ll upload audio files soon so you can hear the differences