In January 2009 I received an e-mail from Kris Moore, the Staff Chaplin at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She had been given my name by a Dr. Miriam Roskin Beger of NYU, who received my contact information from Sacred Dance Guild Member, Betsy O’Neill.
Chaplain Kris Moore works in the area of adolescent residential psychiatry, and she was searching for someone to fulfill the Liturgical Dance requirements for a grant that she had written. In May 2009 the Department of Pastoral Care in partnership with the Division of Psychiatry at CHMC was awarded a $15,000 grant for Worship Renewal from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The proposal requested funds to utilize the expressive arts of music, visual art, dance and writing as methods of engaging youth in connecting with their experience of the Divine.
My proposal was accepted and I began my work, in July 2009. Twice a week I meet with three different residential groups, ages 8 – 17. To date the students have learned liturgical postures and have set those movements to music, using both traditional and contemporary hymns and anthems and even Hip Hop Praise Dance. Together we are exploring world religions, sacred text and prayers and dramatic interpretation of scripture readings. This has been a wonderful learning experience for me as well. Every time I’m working on the Unit, I experience how music and movement touch a soul and provides healing. Between now and the end of the grant period, July 2010, I will give an update on our journey.
At our SDG Annual Meeting last month, at Caldwell College, Betsy O’Neill and I connected. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to thank her for the recommendation and also to tell about my experiences working with the youth at CHMC.
This program is made possible through a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, MI, with funding provided by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.