As I settled into the pew at All Souls Epis­­co­pal Church in Ber­ke­ley, Cal­ifornia, my eyes turned to the crayons strategically placed in the seats as an invitation for the adults to color their bulletin along with the children. I had a strange kid-at-a-birthday-party feeling. I studied the order of worship and realized that the service would mix the expected and the whimsical.

We sang the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Al­mighty” during the procession. During the Gospel acclamation, however, the choir picked up stringed instruments and led us in a spiritual to which we clapped—which created a different sort of resonance and reverence for the Gospel reading. Throughout the hour, banjos and the organ frolicked together in a way that comforted and surprised me.

As new forms of congregations arise, new musical forms are developing. The walls that separate the secular and sacred, the intellect and emotions, and the contemporary and traditional are being deconstructed.