Worship Dance Ministry – Five Reasons to join us on Tour

Well what an awesome start to the first ever UC Grace summer tour! Taking time to go and visit where you are, has been lots of fun. Plus a brilliant experience for my worship dance ministry. Here’s 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.

Joining with others in your worship dance ministry.

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.

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, having 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, God, and with others. The tour is providing an opportunity for those people to gather in person and witness to those around them.

Exploring 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 and any worship dance ministry 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 worship dance ministry 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. We then explore 3 different sub topics throughout the course of 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 using Worship Dance Ministry.

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. 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. If you belong to your own worship dance ministry you could try doing too.

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.

Learning 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.

It 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.

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

Tour Participant 2020

This usually flabbergasted participants, how people who don’t know their story and what’s happening in their journey, dance a prayer for them. The result of what they shared was pin point relevant. Often 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 through moving outside.

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 our worship dance ministry. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

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.

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

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)

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.

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.

Dance Ministry – Four ways we can raise a Worship Dance Army!

Wow. What a period of unknown we are entering into. I’m sure each of us have many different feelings at the moment. One thing for sure, is that we need to stand firm on our foundation – God’s word and Jesus. It has struck me that we need to be active with our dance ministry in this period of change moving forward, God has been speaking to me about raising a worship dance army.

That my heart cannot be held by circumstance. For my eyes are locked on the God who sees the end. So when this world around me cries out, “Who can stand?” I know That I will not be moved for my feet are planted in You.

Lyrics from Firm Foundation, Selah

I want to share with you four ways that you can choose develop your dance ministry during this time of change. Ways that you as an individual can grow and develop your dance ministry, or ways you can do it for your group.

1. We are called for such a time as this.

During some of the many hours I am up with my son, I had quite an intense time of searching with God. There are many things on my mind at the moment, but the biggest one is that God is calling us dancers and movers to step up. Step up and move, dance, declare God’s glory, peace, power and love across all that is going on.

The words from the song Firm Foundation have washed over me during the past week, speaking affirmation, encouragement and joy into a situation that looks quite bleak! We share our faith through dance and movement, demonstrating our faith, deeds and action.

Part of my response to this conversation with God involved embracing the lovely March weather. Heading to the beach, because that was where God said I should dance, and putting movement to this song.

So the first way to develop your dance ministry is by being willing to respond to Gods call.

Moving forward as a dancing army

Last year I shared about the golden whirlwind picture I was given, where essentially there were little tornadoes above each person’s head. As dancers and movers moved the little tornadoes gathered together into a big one.

All those little ripples merged together to create a change in the atmosphere that was unprecedented (you can read more about it here). I had already begun to see this picture start to come to fruition at the beginning of the year. But going forward our ability to move and dance as one will be even more important.

God is leading me to encourage a Dancing Army. By this I mean, making the choice to use our dance and movement to cause an even greater shift in the atmosphere. We have this magnificent opportunity to demonstrate worship and faith in different way going forward. Your dance ministry can help this grow by being bold and stepping out, building a dancing army. Choosing to simply be Jesus with your movement and encouraging others.

Dance a little Louder

The song Raise a Hallelujah has a line in it ‘sing a little louder’ where every bit of me wants to do more than the words give. God is calling us to move more, to dance strong, dance it loud and dance it from the heart. Now is our time as dancers to step out into all God has made us to be. To pray, to move, to go deeper with God.

Part of this requires gathering with other dancers and as we become more of a dancing army – our dance, our song – is getting louder.

Dance ministry is hard work, it requires dedication and always choosing to put Gods pathway first. It also requires stepping out to encourage others and be in the gap when others can’t. Dancing louder with more vibrancy, declaring Gods heart and putting his word front and centre.

Create an online dance ministry community

Community brings cohesion, the opportunity to join together and move as one consistently. You cannot beat face to face dance ministry. However, you must adapt to the circumstances around you, which is why at UC Grace we are launching Prayer Dance Bites. Short 20 minute gatherings online 2-3 times a week, to read and respond to scripture. All ages welcome.

How could you create community online to encourage others with your dance ministry. Choose to get people moving and dancing their prayer. Creating fellowship, catch up and time together.

Want to join us online?

There are several different ways that you can join UC Grace online.

  • Prayer Dance Bites provide the opportunity to connect scripture and pray through weekly sessions via zoom. Further information is available here.
  • Scripture Prompts bring you scripture right into your inbox once a week. They offer 3 ways to engage with scripture in a way that you might not normally. For more information head here.
  • There are a variety of Online Dance Workshops that are running, head to our online page to see what’s running at the moment.

Don’t forget this….

A movement creates a ripple.

Golden Whirlwind

Does your movement change things?

God encourages us in those moments we need it most, even if we haven’t recognised that we need it. Whilst I was away at Rivercamp, there were several things that struck me.

The first being we all dance and move with the same heart. The second that a whirlwind is created as each of us moves in someway.

Let me share some more.

Part of my journey with UC Grace has been overcoming people’s perceptions of what I do and my heart behind it, as well believing and trusting that I was good enough to do it, and there was a need for it. It hasn’t been easy, at the Going Deeper weekend in July I shared some of this. That in the beginning of UC Grace I judged my ‘success’ on the number of people that came to my events and if I didn’t have many, I wasn’t good enough and doing it right.

Yet I knew the foremost reason that I was doing UC Grace was because it was about the hearts of those that came. The hearts that God needed to work with, take on a journey and grow. That’s what my heart needed to do, in order to recognise the gift God had grown inside me. A passion to share, motivate and grow others in movement and dance with Gods word as central.

During my time at Rivercamp I noticed a group of people that always congregated near a space at the side at the front, and claimed the space so to speak, and as the meeting got underway I realised they were movers and dancers of varying degrees of ability. As I began to watch them, a wrestle began in my spirit. A wrestle to watch, receive and bless what I was seeing, but at the same time resentment, longing, and feeling put out and it was unfair! Lots of emotions that had crept up and I didn’t know where to go with. Except I did, but only because of the journey I had been through with UC Grace.

Let me unpack this.

When I am in an environment where my emotions seem to be getting the better of me, or, better put, the Devil is trying to windle his way in. I check myself. I take a pause, a visible breath. The negativity that I was experiencing was pulling up my insecurities, ones that I had defeated. But there, in that present moment, in a new situation they were trying to come to the surface again. I just kept saying to myself, ‘they have a heart to move too,’ ‘they are worshipping God their way.’

In those moments in the worship, where I was desperate just to be lost in it and dance myself, I had to deal with this before I moved forward. I had to deal with the elephant! So, I began a conversation with God, asking what I have got to learn here, what did I need to deal with, recognise, bless, repent. Tough going!

As I relaxed into his presence, he encouraged me that it wasn’t about me being ‘left out’ or ‘not included’, it was about opening up opportunities for others to experience God.

The essence of UC Grace….

As UC Grace has grown, part of my battle has been addressing how UC Grace is seen, or what it is. It’s only been the past few years that I’ve acknowledged that it is a business. I say this here because it is through that acknowledgment that God presented me with opportunities for UC Grace to grow and develop.

Over the few days after that initial encounter in the tent at Rivercamp, I thought about it more, the impact of my reaction to what I had felt, and asked God to reveal more about it.

I had the most amazing picture.

This is the reason for this post, but I wanted you to understand a few things before I shared it. Every dancer and movers journey is different. You will experience some negativity at some point on your journey about dancing and moving, the key is how you deal with it when you are presented with it.

My heart is to release and equip others with their faith through dance and movement. Jesus will always be the number one person I go to for decisions, reasons and conversations, and that includes business ones. UC Grace is a business, it’s a business God has blessed with growth over a very big journey, the picture God gave me, not only encouraged me in my journey with UC Grace, but the journey of Christian dance organisations, businesses, and individuals. Whether they are moving now, will be movers, or will simply just experience the soaking of the Holy Spirit through someone moving around them.

So the picture…

During one of the last worship times at Rivercamp, the tent had come to a very hushed quiet, what I began to see were small whirlwinds over the tops of groups of people. As these whirlwinds began to move around the place, gold started to be threaded through them.

All the whirlwinds then converged into one. Into a tornado. A tornado of GLORY, filled with gold. As it moved it changed the atmosphere, transforming those it moved over. The more it moved the more different colours came into it. The more it moved it was clear that it was the interaction of what was inside the tornado that was causing the shift in the atmosphere.

As the image faded away, it was an ah ha moment. A moment where I recognised why God had to reiterate to me before about how precious each person’s movement was, and how each individuals movements when converged with others creates something far more powerful than we can ever fathom. It creates a movement in the heavens that transforms those around it.

This is something that I knew, but sometimes you can loose sight of it, when you’re tired and been giving out lots.

There is however more.

My friend told me about a picture an artist had in a tent, that I needed to go and look at. This is it… what do you see?

Painting by Helen Yousaf https://www.helen-yousaf-art.com/
Painting by Helen Yousaf https://www.helen-yousaf-art.com/

Two things were brought to my attention. The whirlwind effect of colours spiralling with the reaction to the environment around it. But also, how it fits in with the UC Grace logo. The lady that painted this is Helen Yousaf a prophetic artist and an amazing worship leader.

I was just astounded (again) at how God brings everything together. Are you a dancer? Are you ready to change the atmosphere that you move in? Are you ready to take your whirlwind where God tells you? Get in touch as I would love to hear from you.

Want to be kept up to date with all things UC Grace? Head here.

August Moving: Arms

Having strength in your arms is important, it helps improve your posture which means your back is strong, resistance training your arms has shown that it reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries or at least reduce their severity. But proper form is important.

  • Strong muscles will enhance your workout. Once you start concentrating on your upper body, other exercises will seem easier.
  • Working your arms can help protect your bones. Every year your bones loose more strength, but the good news is, the more you work them, the more you help to maintain healthy bones and build density.
  • Working your arms, gives you that feel good factor, the satisfaction that you’ve worked something hard and will reap the rewards. It will help your exercise mindset going forward.

Exercises to try –

If you can do the 2 exercises 2 – 3 times a day. You will start to feel a noticeable difference in your arm strength.

  1. Forearm pulse: Connect your forearms together from your elbow all the way up to your fingertips, palms together. Push the forms arms together to create tension. Pulse your arms up and down, maintaining contact with no gaps and pressure. Do this for 30 seconds/ pulses. Ensure your shoulders stay down and your core is still scooped in.
  2. Press ups: You probably thought you might get away with out these, but no such luck. A few things to remember about press ups. The further your feet are away the harder it, which means the lower your arms/ centre of gravity the harder it is too. So bear this in mind when you choose the level you want to do the press ups at. Place your hands just wider than your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and tummy scooped. Make sure your body is in a straight line, so your bottom is tucked in. inhale on the way down. Exhale on the way up. Aim for 10 reps.
August Moving: Arms

August Moving: Quads

The quadriceps are one of your power house muscles in your body (alongside your core), that really need to be strong and stable. The muscle groups in your legs work together to ensure that your balance and stability are in the right place when your body needs it, as well ensuring your knee flexes and extends as needed.

  • Having strong quads will aid the stability needed for the knee joints, which can inherently be unstable and depend on ligaments and muscles to protect them from injury.
  • The inner thigh muscles also provide internal rotation, which counterbalances the external rotation from your outer thighs and glutes.
  • Like any major muscle groups they require care and maintenance, stretching in particular is important as no stretching can lead to a shortened thigh muscle which in turn means your knee won’t be able to flex effectively.

Exercises to try –

If you can do the 2 exercises 2 – 3 times a day. You will start to feel a noticeable difference in your quad strength.

  1. Squats – super easy to integrate into your day when you’re brushing your teeth, making a cup of tea, cooking tea and more! You need to have you feet hip or shoulder width apart and a straight back. Remember to scoop in your core and engage it. You want to bend your knees, ensuring your knees stay behind your toes, and your chest stays higher than your hips. You have the choice to do normal squats down and up, or add in a pulse at the bottom before you come up. Aim for 15 reps.
  2. Standing leg raises: Standing up tall with your tummy scooped in. Raise your leg up in front of you so it is slightly bent and then lower back down, let your big toe tap the ground but nothing else and lift leg back up. If you need to hold onto something to keep your balance, rest your hand lightly on a chair. The lifting of the leg must come from the thigh not the knee. Aim for 15 reps on each leg.