Jazz Ministry, The Rev Norm Freeman

Jazz in the Church

"Vespers and jazz truly become one, being brought together by the Holy Spirit's integration of Father Freeman's deep spiritual integrity and his exceptional musical talent."

~The Venerable Malcom Barnum
Archdeacon, The Diocese of CT 

A Time to Greet Our Neighbors Through Music in Liturgy

Vespers, one of the two main hours of the Church's Daily Office, has roots extending into the evening prayers of ancient Israel. Lucernarium (literally: Lamp lighting time) was another name for these periods of devotion which began at the rising of the evening star with a blessing prayer. The Book of Common Prayer preserves the evolution of these early forms of worship and prayer in a way that is faithful to our heritage and open to creating new traditions.

Jazz Vespers emerges as a synthesis of traditions, a blending of an age old liturgy with the unique musical language we call jazz. With a freshness that is open to God's Spirit, this musical tradition sounds the hopes, dreams, joys, frustrations and pain that expresses human experience, while exploring a musical vocabulary that transcends the limits of the written or spoken word.

Jazz Vespers Click here for a sample service

Portrait of an Artist - a reflection

"The potential influence of artists on contemporary approaches to religion and spirituality is immense. Although artists seldom command regular audiences the way clergy do, their work is widely distributed through the mass media and in galleries, museums, bookstores, and retreat centers. People look to artists for inspiration because they seem to have expressed something of everybody's person struggles or simply because they articulate fresh, surprising, even shocking views.

"But the main reason for the current interest in artists' spirituality is that American culture itself is deeply unsettled. While a sizable minority of the public continues to participate regularly in weekend religious services, most Americans believe it important to make up their own minds about spirituality. They may hold the clergy in high regard but feel it is equally important to absorb the wisdom of poets and musicians....Artists provide models of how to say something about one's experiences of the sacred when rational discourse comes up short.

"Artists' life stories...sometimes reveal an intense spiritual journey behind a work of art. Their narratives are full of sadness as well as joy, failure as well as success, questions as well as answers. They show the importance of reflecting on the brokenness of life in order to find coherence."

(Quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/9/01)

Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow, 

Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist (University of California Press, 2001)