Worship Flags – 3 Steps to Guide You

Worship flags resound with people in different ways, everyone will have different preferences, whether you are a seasoned worship dancer with flags, or someone new exploring and curious to see what it’s all about.

During this blog I want to share just 3 steps that can help guide you when using worship flags. If you want to find out more detail about why flags, dance and worship go together and what the Bible says about it, check out Flags and Banners – What does the Bible say, for more info.

UC Grace Summer Tour - St Neots. Nakai flagging
  1. Make and Model

There are many different styles of worship flags and you can get very technical with it. But let’s look at it simply.

MAKE

The shape and weight of fabric will create a different ebb and flow when you dance with it. The type of stick that you use also affects this.

For example, I teach with rod dowelling sticks, and rectangular size metallic lame of varying sizes. I use this style as it’s the easiest to teach beginners with and offers a ‘safe’ start which every participant can connect with. It also enables further skills to develop and be practiced as your knowledge of dance and movement in worship grows.

However, wing (or rounded edge flags) which tend to semi circular in size and often fitted with some form of flexi rod poles, are lighter in weight, but need more co-ordination and skill to master movement in continuous flow due to their size and shape.

The type of fabrics used for flags varies, but is often one of the following – metallic lame, silk or organza. Each fabric has a different weight and therefore the effect created with movement alters.

Sue with Fan Veils at Going Deeper 2019

MODEL

Model refers to the “look”. Different colours can create different meanings. When you choose to step up and dance with worship flags you will be drawn to a colour, colour combination or picture.

There are generalised meanings attached to colours (see below). But remember, God speaks to us all individually and therefore the reason you are drawn to a specific colour might be different to someone else.

Worship flags are spectacular is size, shape and colour. What would be your ‘ideal’ size and shape?

Holy Spirit fire Flag

2. Move with your WHOLE body

Your body is your vessel, you know its limitations and the movements it loves to do the most. When a worship flag is picked up generally one of two things happen.

The first being you stand still on the spot and wave, creating patterns in front of you and above you with your arms and the flags, perhaps with a little ‘bop’.

The second being, you ‘move’ across the space as you would normally without the flag.

Neither option is wrong, thats the beauty of how we come before God. Individually made, created for a purpose, letting God lead our hearts.

Dancing Free 2020 - flag workshop

For you created my in most being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139.13

But my encouragement to you would be to move with your WHOLE body. Look at your worship flag as an extension of your arm. This is a hard concept to grasp initially as it can seem very awkward to do.

When I first teach newbies to flag the main thing that I want them to recognise is that their body already knows movement, the flag is an extra layer to share more about God and go deeper into worship. As your body already knows movement, let it lead you. Let it find the rhythm, hear the lyrics and see what others do.

3. Pause

Pause, to breathe, to acknowledge the reason why you are stepping out with a worship flag, to ask God to lead you with your movements. Pausing is good, whether, before or during movement.

It allows you to ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your conversation with God, to pray a blessing on others through the movement that you share and to enter into the time of worship with your whole heart and not just a portion of it.

If you would like to explore more ways of using worship flags then reading Adapting Choreography to flags in worship dance, maybe useful for you.

Drone footage from UC Grace Summer Tour 2020: St Neots

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

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Five Reasons to join us on Tour

Five reasons to join us on tour.

Well what an awesome start to the first ever UC Grace summer tour! Taking the time to come and visit where you are at has been lots of fun. I thought I’d take a few moments to share what we are doing during our tour sessions, some feedback from what we have done so far and how you can be involved if you can’t make any of the sessions left. There are still 5 sessions to go and we’d love for you to join us in Ipswich, Farnham, Nottingham, Leicester or Guildford.

  1. Joining with others

It’s been a funny season, gathering online, speaking to each other on video and dancing on screens. Many of us are craving the opportunity to gather with others in person and ‘just be’ together. That was one of the primary reasons of how the crazy idea of the tour came about. There is only so much dancing we can do behind a screen, and with it still not being clear when we could gather in an indoor space. Outdoors was the next best option.

So far, the tour has given me a chance to visit different areas, meet lots of new faces and catch up with those that have been on the UC Grace journey a while. Additionally, it has been a source of encouragement not only to those that attend, that they are not alone, but, also for me teaching, that I have the privilege to catch up, chat, teach and share stories in person.

We all felt we wanted to meet up again and dance outside for the joy of it, the witness of it, the community of it, and connection to God in it.

Tour participant 2020

 If you’ve been part of the UC Grace lockdown journey since the beginning you will know about the dancing army (you can read more here). The army that has grown in movement and dance exponentially since lockdown. The people that are choosing to claim their faith through dance and movement and stand firm in the conversation it creates with them and God, and with others. The tour is providing an opportunity for those people to gather in person and witness to those around them.

  • Explore God’s word

Witnessing through the declaration of God’s word, out loud, outside. Two things that can be very daunting together. God’s word is an essential part of any workshop with UC Grace, after all, the Bible is our go to, our manual for life. So common sense would say that it needs to be our foundation about why we move, and what we can grow from. It also provides an excellent opportunity to take hold of the truths God has said.

Quote from tour participant - I found the exercises that you set really helped me to explore spiritual truths in a new way and to not feel that I could only dance in public if it was all pre-rehearsed.

Each session of the tour has an over-arching theme – Grace for the Moment – based on 2 Corinthians 12.9. There are then three different sub topics that we cover on the tour – Sufficient Grace, Letting Gods power lead and Sharing our weaknesses. Each sub topic takes us back to the word each time, ensuring that as we move and step out in dance and movement, we are doing it with God’s word as a stepping stone.

  • Break down fears

Dancing outside brings a different perspective to how you deliver a session and also how dancers interact with exercises and the space around them. I acknowledge that for many, dancing outside is uncommon, more often not done at all, due to the perception that you will be judged about what you are doing.

On tour my heart is for you to explore moving outside in a safe and supportive way and so I provide a series of exercises that will guide you through stepping out in an outside space. Offering you the chance to explore both on your own and in groups.

Freedom to be outside, looking at dance from different points of view

Tour participant 2020

Just like in my normal indoor session, participants do as much or as little as they are comfortable with. But those that have attended have shared how liberating it is to move outside, in God’s creation and worship.

  • Skills to Pray

Prayer is part of our communication with God, as dancers and movers often when words fail us movement takes over and allows us a chance to continue a conversation with God. I’m very passionate about equipping dancers with the skills and experience to prayer dance. To dance and move their prayers rather than speak them.

Gave me a process for dancing out a prayer for someone.

Tour Participant 2020

Each session will give one of those opportunities. The chance to pray for participants themselves and someone else using movement.

How God spoke to me and how others responded to what I had to say.

Tour Participant 2020

This usually flabbergasted participants as people who don’t know their story and what’s happening in their journey dance a prayerd for them, that is pin point relevant. Seeing the physical result of a prayer can be emotional, so participants only share what they are comfortable with and talk about what they felt if they want to.

Happy Endorphins

Who doesn’t love happy endorphins? The ones that get released when there is just pure joy deep down inside! At each location we finish with a time of open worship, a time where you can just move, soak, reflect and do whatever you are led to do. It is during these times that often members of the public stop to see what is going on and simply observe. But because we are focused on God and nothing else, the presence of the public doesn’t hinder, it releases more and allows the Holy Spirit to do its thing!

I really enjoyed watching the other dancer’s worship

Tour participant 2020

One thing I teach regularly during my workshops is the understanding that dance is interpreted in different ways by different people. God made each of us unique, the reason that we may step out to dance, might be perceived differently to those watching. I encourage everyone to recognise, that as they are blessed by movement, others who see their movement are blessed too. That’s how movement moves mountains, it’s how the dancing army covers ground, as blessing, upon blessing is shared.

There are still spaces at all of the tour locations left –

  • Ipswich – Wednesday 5th August – 7.30pm
  • Farnham – Saturday 15th August – 9.30am
  • Nottingham – Saturday 22nd August – 11am
  • Leicester – Sunday 23rd August – 11am
  • Guildford – Wednesday 26th August – 7.30pm

Booking is essential, so please visit our Tour page for more information and to book. Can’t make any of the locations. Why not join us online for Prayer Dance Bites.

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

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Displaying Your Colours

It’s so hard sometimes to be clear about what we do and why we do it, life can take over, we can get stuck in a rut and we think it’s obvious to others about what we do. The reality? That we get so consumed in other things that our purpose is not clear to us or those around us.

Do you know your purpose or call?

This applies to our whole life, not just if you have a business, or a job, or specific life circumstances. Leading through life without knowledge or direction can leave you feeling bewildered and lost. Knowing your purpose, not only gives you focus and direction, but also challenges you to pursue certain things, sets a standard, and encourages you to keep going, when lets face it, life just seems all too much!

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8.30 NIV)

In Prayer Dance Bites the other week we asked the questions ‘do we listen to Gods call?’ and ‘do we listen to find out what it is? Listening and responding are two very different things, often we choose only one, as that’s the easy route. But God wants our best for us, he will not leave us where we are forever, taking the time to seek His will and listen for his call will bring you much joy and help you to shine. If you’ve never sought Gods plans and purposes for you, maybe now is the time to do that. (Find out more about Prayer Dance Bites here, and if you want to listen to this particular session head here, to watch it).

What do you do when you know your purpose?

Do you display it so others know clearly what it is? If not, why not? God will always give us more than we need, as we choose to trust in Him, His hope and love will overflow and display what is in our heart, whatever colour that may be!

“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15.13)

Why ‘display your colours’?

You may have noticed that the UC Grace logo is full of colours. For me colour it utterly important in our walk with God. Colours allow us experience a depth and breadth to our relationship with God. They help to identify where we are at on our journey and where we may get to.

A good example of this is thinking about your journey through lockdown and Covid-19, your feelings emotions, actions and reactions. It may have felt very bleak, or dark, speckled with moments of joy, fun and laughter. It may have been a long hard slog, but one you embraced and kept climbing with.

At UC Grace we help you to journey through whatever colour or circumstance you are in, using dance and movement to help you through it. There is never a right or wrong way to approach your personal journey with God. Because, it’s just that, personal, between you and God. UC Grace acts as the vessel to help you get there.

How does UC Grace display its colours?

Essentially by demonstrating our love and passion for dancing, Jesus and movement. The nitty gritty of how we do that is all over our website, with many ways to connect. Over the coming weeks I will expand further those areas and show you how you can be involved and grow alongside us.

I’m taking part this week in a #showup challenge with Maddy Shine, looking at how I display what UC Grace does and whether it’s accessible for everyone to find. I know I’m going to learn lots and be mind boggled at the same time. But like I said at the beginning, it’s good to challenge ourselves to keep going.

I want to leave you with some key things I’d love to share about UC Grace (in a nutshell!!)

What do we do?

We teach people to go deeper with their Christian Faith using dance and movement, and teach dance leaders to do the same!

Where do we do it?

  • Nationwide – where there is a need and where we are asked!
  • On location as regular workshops in Surrey, Hampshire and Essex.
  • Online – training, workshops and resources.

Who can access us?

Men, women and families are able to take part in our events, some events target a specific audience and that is always made clear on the booking page. Churches and organisations can also access us for training, guidance and resources.

What is my motivation?

To enable people to grow close to God whilst sharing my passion for my faith, dance and movement. Building a network across the country for people to be part of. You can read more about why I do what I do here.

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10 Years Growing and Releasing Dancers

As I stepped out in January 2010 to begin work in schools and share with churches, I had no idea about the journey that God would take me on. I’ve learnt a lot along the way, it’s not always been easy, but God has been consistent and faithful throughout all of it.

That’s the most important thing that I hold on to, that God has always been there, he has carried the purpose of UC Grace, and I have tried to be obedient to that. Sure, I’ve made stumbles along the way, but my desire remains the same, to take people on a journey of a deeper conversation with God using dance and movement .

The further into 2020 we have gone, the clearer it has become, not only how important it is to be in relationship with others who desire to use dance and movement as their language to God, but also to encourage others to encounter dance and movement to deepen their journey with God.

Putting this video together, brought lots of memories back, so many different children and adults that I have had the privilege to teach, encourage, share, and grow in their journey. Sometimes that led to further dance, other times it acted as a stepping stone for them to continue on the journey that God has for them.

My prayer as I continue to grow UC Grace from 2020 onward’s, is that I will rest and lean into what God has planned. That pausing is okay, silence is okay, from out of the silence God will speak more boldly, more extravagantly. To have the courage to try new things, and trust God with the outcome that comes from them.

So whether you have been part of the UC Grace Journey from the beginning or you have joined us more recently. Enjoy the watching the video, where I share a bit more about the journey, relive some highlights from the past 10 years and share some testimonies.

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Keep moving and trusting in Jesus that the plan he has for you, is the one that you are destined for. God will get you there, you might want to take some twists and turns but Jesus will always been there, pick you up and carry you when needed.

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The UK Dance Blessing is Released

Following the release of The Blessing UK at the beginning of May 2020, Anna and Prinith felt led to respond to a call from God to gather the movers and dancers of the UK to move a blessing and prayer over the area that people lived in. It’s vision was to – 

Mobilise a dancing army across the UK, which collaborating with dancers, dance ministries and worshippers. Whose heart it was, was to pray a blessing for the area they live in using dance and movement.

Amazingly over 200 dancers and movers responded to this call to step out and move a blessing and prayer for the people around them and the place they live in. Quite literally a dancing army mobilised across all 4 nations of the UK.

We pray as you watch this that you are blessed and know that God is with you, that there is a Hope bigger than you realise to get you through those times of struggle.. That no matter what you are going through there are people praying for you, not always in words, but instead with movement.

Movement expresses what words can not.

Alongside this video we have also released an eBook of testimonies of how God spoke to those that moved and responded to his call. Join their journey and hear the impact that dancing had on the dancers themselves.

You can get a copy of the ebook by clicking on the button below.

Video will Premier Friday 5th June 20.00

Written by Chris Brown, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe and Steven Furtick c 2020 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing, Capitol CMG Paragon/ Writers Roof Publishing, Worship Together Music/ Kari Jobe Carnes Music

UK Blessing Music Audio produced by Trevor Michael in collaboration with UK churches. UK Blessing Song version music is used with permission. With thanks to Les Moir and Andy Au for helping with seeking this permission.

Project Co-ordinators – Anna Gilderson and Prinith de Alwis Jayasinghe

Video edited by Drew Crow

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Dance Collaboration – The Blessing

Who saw the UK Blessing video yesterday? It was great to see the unity in the church.

Myself (UC Grace) and Prinith (Movement in Worship Birmingham Base) have felt led to organise a UK Dance/ Movement blessing. We want people across different dance ministries, and individuals that simply have a passion for demonstrating their faith through movement, to join us in creating this blessing.

Dear Dancer

We’d love to invite you to take part in a UK project to draw Christian dancers together and create a blessing to people across the UK.

The Vision

To dance to the song The Blessing by The UK Blessing (original Kari Jobe) using this version – https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U

Gathering the videos together we will compile it into video for everyone to share across social media and their networks. We want it to be an opportunity to display the vast ability of dancers, their heart to worship Jesus and share their faith through dance and movement. During covid 19 lockdown, dance places, workshops and performances may have been shut down, but a dancing army have continued to move in their homes and outdoor spaces as they feel led. Dance impacts more than we know and this presents a fantastic opportunity for many to gather and move for our God. Would you like to join us?

The details –

  • We plan to air the video on Sunday 17th May.
  • All video submissions need to be received by Sunday 10th May.
  • Videos must be recorded in landscape
  • Please do not wear any branded clothes.
  • Feel free to use banners, flags or other props
  • Please dance to as much of the song as you feel led to.
  • Ensure your ‘background’ is as clear as possible.
  • Send recordings to us via this link and select choose files – https://www.dropbox.com/request/RTzhgiAnwbrdlFO2l9Hh
  • Email birmingham@miw.org.uk with your name, location and dance organisation (if applicable).

We hope you can join us.

Blessings,

Anna (UC Grace) and Prinith (Birmingham Movement in Worship Base)

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1000 Reasons to dance for our King

I am so excited to share this project with you.

It particularly seems so relevant now as so many of us are dancing and moving more than ever have before. 1000 Reasons to dance for our King, is a project about acknowledging all those reasons that we choose to dance for our King, what pulls at our heart, the emotions we bring and experiences we have, the answers to prayer.

I know not all of you dance, but I expect at some point you have been impacted by dance in some way, that is also a good reason to dance for our King. In a time when when everyone needs to be encouraged, when people want to witness the effect that God has on people, when people are asking questions. Let’s be deliberate in understanding why we are moving, what initiates us and takes us on the journey. From there, we have the opportunity to be equipped to share and explain the gospel in a more comprehensive way.

So, my question to you, will you join me on this journey? I know that why you dance today, will be different to why you dance tomorrow. Or how dance impacts you today, will be different to how it impacts you tomorrow. Over the next few months and the month previous, the journey each of us will go on will test our faith, movement and resilience to stand firm with our faith, lean into God and dance for our King. Check out the video below to hear more before the project.

Comment below or drop me an email and let me know if you’re up for it.

Then as you dance and move over the next days, weeks, months, pop me a message  and share your reason why you dance for the King. You can do this via email (click here) or phone.

Please do share this with anyone you think would love to join this movement. The #dancingarmy is growing at an immense rate, it is awesome to see God move and witness people choosing to #dancealittlelouder.

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Build God’s Kingdom – Change the Atmosphere

Happy Easter!

Today we celebrate our risen King. Let’s dance somewhere not seen before. Let’s build God’s kingdom and change the atmosphere.

We begin by joining in the 3rd day after Jesus died, the day that he rose again. The two Mary’s found an empty tomb. And an angel told them Jesus was risen just as he said he would. Go and tell the disciples the angels said.

Skipping forward to after the encounters we hear how Jesus then gives us the commission. Let’s read it in the message version. Matthew 28.18-20.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.

I will be with you… He says it, claim it, Jesus will be with you.

As I prepared for today I asked God to be specific about what I could bring on a Easter Sunday like we won’t have again in our lifetime. What could I challenge you, encourage you, show you as we celebrate, remember and share this awesome day of risen King.

He turns our mourning into dancing

Our weeping into joy

Our pain in to laughter

He calms the seas

And he stands, always with us.

At the beginning of the commission it says ‘go out and train everyone you meet, far and near in this way of life.’ (The Message)

Ponder these questions –

  1. What could ‘train everyone you meet’ mean?
  2. What ‘way of life’ in your life could you demonstrate to others?

This is the churches time.

The Rend Collective song, ‘Build your Kingdom here’, speaks of “change the atmosphere”, of building God’s kingdom in amongst whatever is happening in the world. You know my passion of the impact that dance and movement has on those around us, as we witness Gods word and action. We have seen change through responding to the call to stepping out and responding in dance and movement.

So my final questions to you is –

Are you ready to change ATMOSPHERE?

Take a flag, streamer, ribbon, piece of material, anything you are comfortable with. Step up and change the atmosphere in a place that is near to you.  Watch the video and see a snapshot of my heart from the song ‘Build your kingdom here’. Let’s dance louder with our movements to the song. Stir the atmosphere as you move to the chorus particularly.

This is part of our Prayer Dance Bite programmer. We meet 3 times a week to move, dance and pray using scripture and other themes. You can check out more info here.

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Create your own Easter Garden

I am sure you all have different traditions of things that you do at Easter, I love to make little gardens and chat to the children about what we are doing and why.

In this season as we are spending more time at home, I’d thought I’d share an activity for the whole family to take part in if you wanted. Here are some tips on how to make your own Easter Garden. You’ll need the following items –

  • Large shallow tray/ dish/ pot
  • Soil
  • Grass
  • Stones
  • Small cup or pot
  • Sticks – 3 long and 3 shorter
  • String or elastic bands
  • Larger stone go across the ‘tomb’

Step one:

Place some soil in the base of the dish, then place your small pot or cup on its side two thirds of the way back. Fill the space and cover to make a hill.

Step Two:

Take your three longer sticks and 3 shorter sticks. Using elastic bands or string secure them together to make a cross.

Step Three

Place stones or something decorative on the soil in front of the tomb. Then cover the mound with moss or grass, you could even plant some small plants there is you wanted.

Finally, place the crosses on the hill and the stone across the tomb and place some where as a reminder. Don’t forget on Easter Sunday to roll the stone away and have a party! If you make one, why not share with others what you have done and why.

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Peace be Still… Let Faith Arise

Many of you have heard me speak about raising up a #dancingarmy and encouraging people to #dancealittlelouder. The reality of this happening has snowballed, and it is awesome to see how God is using such a simple concept to gather people, to gather movers and dancers whose whole heart is simply to worship, praise, prayer, live life and more through Jesus. If you’ve not joined us yet for a Prayer Dance Bite can I encourage you to do so. Let’s step out and live our journey of faith through movement, however big or small that might be.

During this crazy time that we are living in at the moment. It can send many of us into a spin with an unclear way out. In another one of my late night/ early morning awake times with my son, my head was in a spin about the latest news of the more intentional lockdown we were about to enter. So many people would be feeling so many different things. What was God saying in amongst it all?? PEACE. PEACE, BE STILL.

I knew that I had to dance to that. That myself, and many others needed to know that God says, Peace Be Still… Let your Faith arise. Jesus is the one that calms the storms with 3 strong words, He is the one that will bring us comfort, strength, peace and protection over the coming months. We need to choose to let our faith arise and lean into all that He has available for us.

As I shared with others my passion for moving to this song, they wanted to also dance, before I knew it, there was indeed a dancing army, proclaiming God’s word, safety, protection and peace. That’s what this video is. A culmination of 8 dancers stepping out to move in prayer for all. God moves mountains, he changes water into wine, he raises people from the dead, he heals the sick. He stands by us no matter what, walks with us during our darkest hours, and carries when it gets too much.

Remember this ripple I keep talking about? How a ripple can change the atmosphere. For just by one starting, others will follow. Let’s make this ripple shake and move the heavens. Let’s be bold in our conversations, our prayers, our movements. Let’s shake the heavens and show people how great our God is.

Join me, #dancealittlelouder. Be a #dancingarmy.

We’d love to connect with you further, so why not sign up to our newsletter where you can hear more about what we are doing and how you can get involved. Head here.

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