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Baptist church includes dancing in worship on Easter Sunday

The following post comes from Jonathan Davis of Wildewood Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.

Houston’s Ad Deum Dance Company performed in Easter worship services, depicting Christ’s death, burial and resurrection through the art of dance

Snapshot 3 (4-4-2013 1-04 PM)Wildewood Baptist Church danced on Easter.  On Easter Sunday, the church celebrated through the arts and Ad Deum, one of Houston’s premier dance companies, participated in Wildewood’s Easter services.

Wildewood is breaking a major Baptist stereotype in many peoples’ minds by having dance as a part of worship.  Wildewood’s Senior Pastor, Brad Dancer, sees the value of dance as a creative tool for worship and for proclaiming the message of Easter.  Yes, the pastor’s last name is Dancer.

Snapshot 2 (4-4-2013 1-03 PM)“We are excited at Wildewood to have Ad Deum as a part of our Easter services because we value the arts in our community.  Our people are very receptive to dance as a part of worship,” says Dancer.  “Lots of people have the impression that Christians are stuffy people who don’t appreciate the arts.  We intend to change that impression.  The Church used to be the largest patron of the arts, and Wildewood would love to see other churches move in that direction as well.”

As the fourth largest city in America, Houston has a world-class arts community, so for Wildewood it makes sense to draw on the local artistic community for creative ideas.  “Bringing in dance as a worship element adds a creative visual aspect to our worship that is unique.  Dance provides a beautiful expression of worship and of how God relates to people, and we are honored to have Ad Deum again,” Dancer added.

Ad Deum’s Founder and Artistic Director, Randal Flinn, says, “Partnering with Wildewood to bring dance into Sunday morning worship is a great opportunity for people with the talent of dance to use their passions in a faith-based way, and really says a lot about Wildewood’s commitment to the artistic community of greater Houston.”

Snapshot 5 (4-4-2013 1-07 PM)“Ad Deum’s mission is to create and perform works that offer moving images of hope and healing to those who witness the artistry of dance, and partnering with Wildewood helps us accomplish that mission,” states Flinn.

The piece Ad Deum performed Easter Sunday communicated the story of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection with a trio of dancers.  Wildewood even expanded their stage for the dancers, pulling out all the stops on a Sunday when the number of visitors is traditionally high.

“We knew that we’d have plenty of guests, and we wanted them to know first and foremost that God loves them, but secondly that Wildewood is a place that cares about them and their family.  By inviting Ad Deum to be a part of our services this Easter, we are communicating to visitors that Wildewood values creative individuals who might be overlooked or even shunned by some communities of faith,” says Dancer.

Ad Deum has partnered with Wildewood before, much to the enjoyment of church members and people in the community.  This is the second time Ad Deum has participated in Sunday worship at Wildewood.  Additionally, in the fall Ad Deum performed a ticketed dance concert at Wildewood.  “Many people from the community were surprised to see the words ‘Dance Concert This Friday’ on the sign of a Baptist church,” says Dancer.

Snapshot 1 (4-4-2013 1-03 PM)Ad Deum Dance Company was founded by Flinn as a project-based company in 1991. In 2000, the company began their full-time organization which included the professional company and a trainee/mentoring program.  The company is now comprised of amazingly talented dancers who have relocated to Houston, Texas from all across the globe.

The company has performed the works of many honored choreographers including Steve Rooks, former principal dancer with Martha Graham, Hope Boykin of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Bill Wade of Inlet Dance Theatre, and Caleb Mitchell, formerly with Houston Ballet just to name a few.  They are now excited about partnering with Wildewood Baptist Church to promote the arts among faith based groups in greater Houston.

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