Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1925 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
makes every worshiper an active
participant in the church services.
"No sooner did the story reach the
ears of the public than a storm of
criticism burst about my head. There
seems to be a general misunder
standing in regard to dancing choirs
and sermons interpreted through the
How many of you know that all of
the early Christian churches hacl
their dancing choirs and that the
chanting, the swinging of the in
cense pots, the methodical move
ment of the altar boys and the clergy
of the very high churches today are
but a remnant of the time when God
was praised through rhythmic move
ment of the worshipers?
Prelate comes from the Latin prae
lato (to bear "oneself before), so
named because the early prelate was
the premier danseur of the church
The dancing service stayed in the
Christian church until the asceticism
of the middle or dark ages, when
everything of physical beauty or
pleasure was condemned.
At this time pleasure became a
crime. All nude statues belonging
to the church were mutilated or
adorned with fig leaves. All Chris
tian church with the exception of
the Seville cathedral abolished the
Rhythmic movement would awak
en a spirit of expressive worship in
congregations and would draw them
into the service as active partici
pants, when now they are merely
spectators, stodgy and bored.
By dancing I do not mean ballet,
ballroom on theatrical, but a form of
reverent, suitable movements to ex
press all of the subtle relations be
tween man and maker.
Billy Sunday's movements are
most effective and at times even
pleasing to watch but what he says
and how he sa$s it repulsive, cnild
isli and ineffectual. It Is Billy Sun
day's dancing that makes him a suc
I wpuld dance the sermon, have a
costumed choir dance the anthems
and gloria and the doxology; dance
the offertory by coming forward in
a rhythmic manner with their offer
ing, and at the end of the service I
would express the benediction by
rhythmic, benevolent movement of
the chest, arms and head.
I have one dance sermon on the-' ty
text, "Behold the truh and the truth
shall make you free!" I use the
Rachmaninoff "Prelude" as the mu
I enter the pulpit as if bound with
chains, yet as if escaping from a cell.
Escaping from total darkness and ig-,
ndrance to a consciousness of my
chains of mortal sense.
These I struggle against with my
own puny mortal strength, Hopeless
ly and futile, until I fall exhausted
and say, "Of mine own self I can do
Then I behold the Truth that all
power is in God and tnat truth
breaks off my manacles.
Then I say, "But I have prison filth
on me I am not fit!"
But again I look at myself in the
light of truth and find myself clean
and unspotted, for my real self was
never in chains or in prison, only this
When we have vital, expressive
motion by every member in the con-
gregation instead of so much doleful
singing, the churches will be crowd
ing to overflowing and new ones will "
have to be built. There is no author
ity for limit in expression of worship
to voice. The vocal chords are no
more sacred than any other part of
the body. My whole body is-a tem
ple to the living God and every inch
of it is needed to worship Him.
0 0 . ""
TODAY IN ILLINOIS HISTORY
Sept- 20, 1766. The traders in the
Illinois country petitioned Great Bri
tain to be allowed free trade with
the Indians, instead of being required
to confine their operations to the
regular tradinj: posts.