"I'm wondering what's going to percolate with that one," Parker said. "I really have no idea right now."
Sparking people's imagination, not biblical purity, is really the point. "I think explicitly connecting pop culture with people's faith is always a sound (idea)," she said.
For 12 weeks this summer, congregants at Parker's church are breaking out the jazz hands and learning valuable life lessons by way of Harold Hill and the Von Trapps. Each Sunday's worship theme is tied to a musical, with local musicians performing a song or two from the production and Parker exploring religious or inspirational connections that are sometimes obvious, sometimes not. On the Sunday I visited, the vocalist duties fell to
"My guess is a lot of people will be singing 'Do-Re-Mi' sometime during the week, and that will bring them back to something said in church," Fritsch said later.
During her sermon, Parker confessed to knowing the 1965 Julie Andrews movie by heart, having watched it annually growing up. She pointed out that the lyrics to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" say to climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow.
"Don't stop at one or two," she told us. "We are called to keep climbing, to never give up on making the world a better place."
I assumed "The Sound of Music" was her all-time favorite musical, but she told me afterward it's "Les Miserables." She already covered that one last summer, when she piloted the "God on
"This is a very playful congregation, so there's a lot of latitude when an idea is pitched," she said. Other musicals slated for this summer include "The Music Man," "Pippin" and "Into the Woods."
"Jesus hung out with some fairly outrageous people," she said. "Faith wasn't always so sedate."
Parker's effort stands out not just for its creativity but also for bucking the "summer slump," that tendency for churches to downshift during the months when families vacation. The Sunday I attended, the church ran out of bulletins.
"We're not finding any drop in attendance," said church member
The summer series runs through
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