Anointed Joy: Liturgical Dance at St. Andrew’s
Anointed Joy is a Christian dance group, which prepares and presents worship dances to give praise, honour and glory to God.
why we do it:
by Patricia Browne
Liturgical dance is a physical expression of our desire to worship God. The Bible tells us to praise the Lord with our hearts, our minds, our souls, our bodies. Praise the Lord with harp and lute! Praise the Lord with dancing! The liturgical dance team (Anointed Joy, Raise the Praise and God-A-Dance) practices often to bring an offering of movement to our worship services. The dancers use this opportunity to give back in worship, the gift of ability and movement that God has blessed us with.
Liturgical dance is not meant to be looked upon as a performance, but more so, as an offering to God. It is an act of praise using the whole body. Often we dance to spiritual songs and the movements of the dance reflect the message intended through the music. The Liturgical Dance team has danced many songs representing celebration, good news, praise, even as an expression of sorrow and mourning, but always as an offering of praise to God. Praise for His gifts, praise for His love and praise for His presence in our lives.
Psalm 150 says, “Praise him with tambourine and dancing”
how we started:
In 2001, the group began with 5 members of the Youth Group and a folk dance, at the Son Rise service on Easter morning. Afterward, the dancers were invited to dance in the Easter service and have been dancing ever since.
Anointed Joy meets once a week and is comprised of dancers from age fourteen to adult. It is a privilege to have dancers from various denominations in the Christian community.
what we do:
Practice begins and ends with prayer. We discuss any news, make decisions for the groups, and work on upcoming projects. Preparing worship dances is all about teamwork. Each dancer brings individual gifts and skills to the group. Together, we are building new dances and reworking old ones. Everyone has experiences and stories to share about how God is working in our lives, and how we are becoming more and more aware of His powerful presence in situations and in life.
Because worship dance is primarily visual, we are aware of the appearance of the moves, and dancing together as a group. As we present our worship we want to respect our fellow worshippers. Dance garments are designed with care, to allow for modesty as well as movement.
“He Knows My Name” – by Tommy Walker
connecting with others:
Our annual workshop is usually in March or April.
After having attended many worship dance workshops to learn about historic (Messianic Folk Dance) dance methods and use of props, such as flags, ribbons and tambourine, Anointed Joy presents workshops covering a range of worship dance styles. We continue to thank Jennifer Burne-House for guiding us in the use of worship flags. Workshop events are great times of fellowship and provide a connection with a greater family of Christian dancers.
There are many biblical references to show dance was part of the Hebrew culture during ancient times:
- Miriam led dancing, singing and praise – Exodus 15:20-21
- celebrating victory – 1 Samuel 18:6-7
- David danced before the Ark of the Lord – 2 Samuel 6:14-23, 1 Chronicles 15, 16
- Jephthah’s daughter – Judges 11:34
- ladies dancing – Judges 21:21-2
- associated with joy and contrasted with mourning – Lamentations 5:15, Psalm 30:11, Ecclesiastes 3:4
- dancing (and joy) when Israel is restored – Jeremiah 31:4&13
- we are to praise God with dancing – Psalm 150:4, Psalm 149:3
- Children playing games – Matthew 11:17
- return of the Prodigal Son – Luke 15:25
Ponder this: Other references in the Bible, to lively worship, include dance. Hebrew words that have meanings related to physical movement, have been translated into English as “rejoice”.
We dance to praise God.
Where we have danced:
Anointed Joy and Raise the Praise have prepared many dances:
- traditional, blended & contemporary worship services
- women’s conferences
- St. Andrew’s Fall Worship, winter Worship Evenings, and Worship on the Lawn
- Flag & dance workshops
- Reformation Sunday
- Advent services and Christmas Eve services
- Lenten Series, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Son Rise Services, Easter Sunday
- Pentecost Sunday/ in Oshawa and Scarborough churches
- Ontario Shores Centre of Mental Health Sciences / Spiritual Care
- General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Canada / Durham College
- Missionfest Toronto
- service of spiritual refreshment for care-givers, presented by a funeral home
Poetry shared by Kimberly Hartman, a long-time Anointed Joy dancer:
To Worship by Kimberly Hartman
I’m free to dance
Bringing worship to Your name,
For Your honour, I’m ever changed,
To bring to You an endless praise
A tribute to Your loving ways
Seemingly such a small thing,
Compared to the glory You deserve
Yet You seek
Not those whose worship is equal
To Your glory
Else none could praise
You seek only those who come
To worship You in spirit and truth
That is the worship that You seek
May I be such a worshipper
Lead me Lord,
And keep me free to dance.
The Gift to Dance by Kimberly Hartman
May I always remember it is Yours
Not nurtured talent or human creativity.
A gift from my Saviour
May I always praise You through dance,
To bring You glory worth Your name.
A gift to share, to show, to lead
Others before Your throne of grace
With hearts of worship, honour You
For all You’ve done and yet will do.
To bring them to that special place
Those moments cease life’s restless race.
That time with You
No other cares
To worship You
Is all I need or want to do
To dance forever
The name Anointed Joy refers to Jesus (Hebrews 1:8,9).
Anointed Joy: Liturgical Dance at St. Andrew’s
Anointed Joy is a Christian dance group, which prepares and presents worship dances
to give praise, honour and glory to God.