Behind the Scenes with the Worship Leaders for Annual Conference

Date Posted: 5/12/2016

Working with consultant Dr. Marcia McFee has been an uplifting experience for worship leaders Lindsay Smith and Michael Vaughn as they add special touches to the upcoming Annual Conference. 
Inspired by many of Bishop Janice Huie’s favorite scriptures, the 2016 Annual Conference promises many unforgettable moments, including the special worship services designed by Dr. Marcia McFee’s worship planning team, Michael Vaughn, director of music and worship arts for Wildwood UMC and Lindsay Smith, music director at St. Stephen’s UMC. Michael has thoroughly enjoyed working with a team of amazing musical talent and passions, and getting to choose music and define logistics using his many resources.
Video - Dr. Marcia McFee - TAC 2016 Worship 

Video - Worship Preview with Lindsay Smith and Michael Vaughn
Special Touches
According to the team, the organic theme this year will be evident through rich imagery and references to planting, the harvest, and seeds of faith that are lived out in a vibrant church and personal spiritual journey. Opening worship, “Falling on Good Earth” will be later followed by the “Tree of Life” service of memorial and communion, the “Sending out Branches” service of retiree recognition and blessing, “The Root Command” commissioning and ordination service and “Planted by God” closing worship.
According to Lindsay and Michael, the team has re-designed the worship space and one of the new elements is a central platform where rituals will take place throughout the conference.  “In this new format, we will celebrate communion, hear readings, and gather around the central table as one body,” adds Michael.

Special Music
“During the Commissioning Service, attendees will be blessed by the choir and orchestra from Memorial Drive, UMC,” Lindsay shares. The worship team has recruited other amazing musicians including:

  • Stephen Distad, organist, and Justin Langham, trumpeteer who make up, "Deux Voix" - a very successful touring duo
  • Grace Tice, oboist
  • Glen Ackerman, jazz guitarist
  • Hallie Chapman, a very talented high school student who will be pursuing musical theater and has grown up singing gospel and R&B in church
  • A chamber choir made up of great choral and solo artists from around the Houston community
At the close of the conference, special guest Ken Medema will bring his unique musical style to inspire many through his impromptu songwriting skills based on sermon topics, audience input or speaker stories. Ken, who was nearly blind at birth, has become an accomplished musician through lessons in braille music, playing by ear and improvising for four decades. Adds Michael, “Attendees are sure to leave inspired and ready to go back to their home churches to serve with energy and enthusiasm!  We can’t wait to celebrate each of these poignant services with you!”
Up Close with the Worship Committee Leaders
Before coming to St. Stephens, Lindsay served as the choir director at Dayton FUMC for five years. During that time, she earned a Masters of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas and began pursuing ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is a member of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, and she enjoys writing hymns and tunes.
Michael received his Master's degree from The University of Houston in Voice and dual Bachelor's degrees in Voice Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College. Currently, he is working towards a D.M.A. in choral conducting and has served on several college faculties. In addition to his church work, he is the director of the High school division of the Houston Boys choir and director of the Houston Revels - a production company that produces a community Christmas production each year downtown. Michael, a former soloist with the Houston Symphony, will be teaching at the Texas Conference Choir Clinic at Lakeview Retreat Center.