School project turns into music CD
Story by Laura Lehman Amstutz
Assignments completed while in seminary often wind up stuffed into a box or placed in a file, but for Christine Nafziger, one of her seminary projects became a way to share her gifts in music and her knowledge of prayer with others.
Nafziger, a 2006 Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate originally from the Lancaster, Pa., area, has released a compact disc of piano music and a prayer booklet entitled “Music as Prayer: Gateway to the Soul.”
The booklet and CD began as a project for a class on “Prayer in the Christian Tradition” at EMS.
“It’s always been a dream to share the songs I’d written with others,” said Nafziger. “I discovered that I could take songs I’d written and connect them with different prayer forms I was learning about in class.”
The result: a booklet and CD with 12 songs and lessons on prayer. Each lesson begins with a song Nafziger composed. Background information follows on the song and the form of prayer that relates to it.
“I have a passion for music. Writing songs and listening to music are two ways I connect with God,” said Nafziger. “I also realized what a difference it made in my prayer life when I learned different ways of praying, like using scripture, entering the narrative or lectio divina.
“I wanted to create a resource for individuals and churches that would help others learn about prayer and experience it through music,” Nafziger said.
Nafziger is pastoring one-quarter time with her husband ,Patrick, at Millersburg (Ohio) Mennonite Church. She hopes to use this booklet and CD in her own congregation to help teach them about prayer.
“While most of the lessons are written with an individual in mind, they can also be used in small groups,” Nafziger said. “My hope is that learning to pray in different ways will root people deeper into God.
“We don’t often spend time sitting in silence with God. Different ways of praying illustrated in this book serve as a reminder that we also need to listen,” Nafziger said.
Nafziger produced the CD at Alive Studios at Mennonite Media in Harrisonburg. Wendy Miller, professor of spiritual formation at EMS, gave helpful advice as she wrote the book.
A sample of the music and lessons is available at www.emu.edu/seminary/resources/musicasprayer.
The CD and booklet can be purchased directly from Nafziger at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing her at 1147 Wooster Rd. Millersburg, OH 44654.
An order form can be downloaded from the web site.
Laura Lehman Amstutz is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.