With the COVID-19 pandemic upsetting rituals and routines, many are seeking a new spiritual equilibrium.
One new resource combining music, art, and liturgy for daily and weekly use is The Soil and The Seed Project, established in 2021 by Seth Crissman, Harrisonburg pastor and musician with The Walking Roots Band. He is a 2009 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and a 2015 graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
“We kept hearing from friends, churches, and church leaders how tricky it has been because so much of their lives and faith practices were turned upside down,” said Crissman. “The last two years revealed a real need for theologically-rich resources, accessible to people wanting to establish new habits around faith throughout the week.”
The project released its second free faith formation resource in late February. Vol. 2 // Lent – Easter – Pentecost is available at the project website. Formats include CD and print, digital (mp3 and PDF files), and mobile-friendly formats.
● 12 mostly original songs, including songs featuring nearly a dozen verses of direct scripture quotations, centuries-old hymn texts, and brand new compositions;
● 10 different musicians, including artists the Walking Roots Band and EMU’s Chamber Singers;
● 14 “Little Liturgies,” featuring short prayers, litanies, questions to explore/practice listening and sharing, as well as spiritual practices that follow the liturgical calendar from a team of three writers and featuring the work of two visual artists.
Contributors and collaborators with EMU ties include lead “Little Liturgies” writer Melody Tobin Zimmerman ’14, and musicians Leah Wenger ‘20, Lauren Derstine Yoder ‘10, Jackson Maust ‘09, Benjamin Bergey ‘11, professor of music and director of EMU’s Chamber Singers, and the current choir members.
Vol. 1 // Advent – Christmas – Epiphany was released in November 2021. It follows a similar format. Contributors included Mitchell Yoder ‘09 and Kristina Landis Yoder ‘09.
Crissman says one goal of the project is to “help establish new rhythms of faith as together we turn towards Jesus, believing and celebrating the Good News of God’s Love for the whole world.”
Crissman says he’s heard good feedback from the first volume of resources. “People listen to the songs while they do the dishes or ride in the car on the way to the store. They read the ‘Little Liturgies’ after a meal around the table or before bed,” he said. “This project helps us turn towards Jesus and believe the Good News in little, ordinary moments.”
The Soil and The Seed Project resources are offered free through partnership with VMMissions who support Crissman and the project and the generosity of many individuals and communities. Visit the project website to learn more about donating or partnering.