New from Seekers: A CD and Two Books
September 25, 2014
Seekers Church upholds creativity as a vital expression of God’s calling. The church has always nurtured writers, musicians, painters, and many others – but this September marked three particularly exciting new milestones for Seekers’ artists.
Dancing Toward the Light is a CD of original tunes by Jesse Palidofsky, filled with humor and healing. Click here for details.
In Stalking the Spirit in a Do-It-Yourself Church Marjory Zoet Bankson recounts the life of Seekers Church from its beginning as an offspring of Church of the Saviour to its present life in Northwest DC as a creative, inclusive community working for peace and justice. Click here for more information.
“Calling on God: Inclusive Christian Prayers for Three Years of Sundays,” by Deborah Sokolove and Peter Bankson is a collection of prayers suitable for worship by groups and individuals. Click here for details.
Dancing Toward the Light
On September 12th at Carroll Cafe, the “First Fridays” coffehouse sponsored by Seekers, longtime member Jesse Palidofsky hosted a concert to celebrate the release of his second CD of original songs. Dancing Toward the Light, recorded in Toronto and released by Takoma Park’s Azalea City Recordings, features world-class musicians who make Jesse’s artistry come alive. Producer Ken Whitely has been nominated as Producer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for his work on Jesse’s CD.
The concert was a rousing, much-appreciated celebration of what Jesse says are “songs that began magically appearing out of nowhere, like fish leaping out of the water into the fisherman’s boat.” Humor, faith, pain, and courage are just a few of the many moods highlighted in this profoundly spiritual and beautifully realized recording.
Stalking the Spirit
Marjory Bankson, Seekers Church Steward, Chair of Ecumenical Council of Church of the Saviour and Editor of “Callings,” is a conference and retreat leader who is also a prolific author. This September she published her sixth book, Stalking the Spirit in a Do-It-Yourself Church, which tells the story of Seekers Church from its beginnings as a second-generation Church of the Saviour community to its current vibrant presence in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC.
As Kayla McClurg writes, “Rare is the opportunity to get an inside look at the challenges and discouragements of being community in this way, to listen in on the conflicts as well as witness the faithful responses. This [is the] story of one small laity-led church striving to be an authentic expression of Christ’s body in a local setting and not a mere replica of its founding prototype.”
Stalking the Spirit has been a work in progress for more than ten years. Seekers co-founder Sonya Dyer entrusted Marjory with her journals that detailed the formation of Seekers, and the Stewards affirmed her to write this history. “It was only after the church moved to its new location that I was able to find the right ending for our story,” Marjory says. Initial drafts of the book were then revised to reach a wider audience of “do-it-yourself” Christian communities. This edition also includes “Questions for Emerging Churches,” many of them based on questions Marjory has heard over the years about Seekers.
In less than 200 pages, Stalking the Spirit provides a fascinating and invaluable chronicle of this unique community known for its creative worship, open pulpit, shared leadership, strong matrix of mission groups, and generous giving.Stalking the Spirit is available from the publisher, Wipf and Stock. Click here to go to the order page.
Calling on God
Marjory’s husband, Peter Bankson, is also a longtime Steward at Seekers church – and now a first-time author. He and another Steward, Deborah Sokolove, professor of art and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary and author of Sanctifying Art, have collaborated on Calling on God: Inclusive Christian Prayers for Three Years of Sundays. This collection of prayers, keyed to the liturgical calendar, is the fruit of their decades of experience as liturgists and worship leaders at Seekers. The language is moving and poetic, founded on creativity, inclusivity, and sharing.
“Seekers gets inquiries on the Web from all over the English-speaking world” asking for help and inspiration to create fresh, contemporary worship prayers, says Peter. “There are many other churches, even smaller than ours, who don’t have a mission group to devote their energies to this task.” So Peter and Deborah combined their trove of worship-writings over the years and produced a compendium of prayers that follows the procession of the seasons, appropriate for personal devotion as well as for use in leading worship. The Reverend Canon Jan Naylor Cope, vicar of Washington National Cathedral, has already praised Calling on God as “beautiful, fresh language for Christians of all denominations.”
Calling on God is available from the publisher, SkyLight Paths. Click here to go to the oder page.
Both books can also be ordered from the Potter’s House bookstore by phone or e-mail (202-232-5483 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Morris, who wrote this introduction, is a widely published poet, philosopher, musician and aspiring novelist in Seekers.