First United Church of Christ Northfield, Northfield, MN

About the church
First United Church of Christ Northfield is located 45 minutes south of Minneapolis in the vibrant arts community of Northfield, Minnesota. With a membership of 494 and average attendance of 175, Sunday morning worship takes place within their historic sanctuary at 10:30am. First UCC has a strong tradition of excellent instrumental and vocal music and outstanding musicianship, with close artistic connections to Carleton College and St. Olaf College. Supported with a magnificent pipe organ and grand piano, services are led by five choirs, two for adults and two for children, and one for hand bells.


“Arts for Everyone”: Arts-Infused Worship
The central question driving our proposal is this: now that children are present for all of our Sunday service, how else should our worship evolve? One starting point for an answer to this question is the idea of providing our congregation more pathways to an experience of God through the fuller engagement of our senses in worship. The arts touch the hearts of people of all ages in many different and transformative ways. They can invite young and old alike into an experience of the Divine. We believe that Arts-Infused Worship will help our service become a transforming, spiritual experience not only for our children but for adults of all ages as well.
Tastefully incorporating visual art and drama will help us engage visual learners more deeply. We are interested in inviting dance as an art form into worship, but we are also interested in finding authentic ways for the congregation to move, engaging the kinesthetic dimension of life. We plan to focus on a few specific goals: diversifying musical style in worship, weaving music into more of the liturgy, and employing the congregation as a choir. We hope to draw on untapped musical gifts present in our congregation and among our many local college students to help us in this work.
We are most excited about pursuing the musical goals mentioned above and integrating more visual art into worship. The congregation is currently discussing a proposal to add two flat-screen monitors to the worship space, which would provide the ministerial leadership with the technology needed to seamlessly integrate film and images into worship.  St. Olaf and Carleton, our two local colleges, have superb programs in the arts and in community service, with St. Olaf earning national recognition in both. We also aim to strengthen our connections with both institutions, helping them enlarge their civic service to incorporate the arts programs in Northfield’s houses of worship—not just at First UCC but also throughout the community.



300 Union Street
Northfield, MN 55057

Team Members:

Rev. Todd Smith Lippert, Senior Minister
Christopher Brunelle, Director of Music
Bob Gregory-Bjorklund, Director of Spirit Voices