The Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is excited to continue our collaboration with members of the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Jazz Studies Program in creating a series of five Jazz Vespers worship services during 2019-20. We're equally excited to be forming a new relationship with the Hayti Heritage Center, where the 2020 Jazz Vespers series will take place.
What is Vespers?
Vespers is an ancient Christian tradition of Evening Prayer, consisting of psalms, hymns, chants, prayers, and readings from the scriptures. Today vespers has been embraced by many different spiritual communities and will often include contemporary innovations such as congregational singing, readings, poetry, silent meditation, or contemplation.
While readings, singing, prayer, words of wisdom and contemplation are present, in jazz vespers the element of music is a focal point of the service.
One can easily say the ethos of jazz is freedom of expression, however, jazz musicians understand they need to be conscious of their choices and how they affect the whole. As a result, we experience a spiritual opportunity to understand improvisation as a metaphor for what it means to live in community. To live creatively with one another’s differences.
As a way of going deeper, monthly worship themes were introduced in 2017. Themes run, if not in the foreground, then in the background of services. We’re doing this as part of the Soul Matters collective of over 200 UU congregations. So themes help us focus on a particular value or spiritual quality together in various ways at ERUUF, and also together with fellow UUs.