Dancing for Joy


“David danced before the Lord with all his might” as he brought the ark into Israel’s new capital (2 Samuel 6:14). Trinity Church is dancing and rejoicing that our new senior pastor, Todd Arnett, is here, and some members more literally than others. SonLight is Trinity Church’s dance team created by Mary Bawden. She is passionate about dance as an act of worship.

The purpose of SonLight is a tool to help proclaim the Gospel through beautiful movements ushered by the lyrics we hold so dear in our praise music. The team doesn’t “perform” they “present”. They are not dancing for show or entertainment, in flashy costumes, they are worshiping through movement along with the rest of the congregation.

Team member, Tracey Matney, recalls her first time dancing with the group. “Having grown up in a small Presbyterian church, a dance presentation as a part of service was new and exciting. I love dancing and right away connected with Mary and danced in the following Easter service. Dance is a part of my background, I know what it feels like to perform in front of people on stage, but this was different. This time, I was dancing for the purpose of bringing people to worship our God. I teared up during the performance when people stood up and started singing. It was at that moment I realized that it was a ministry and not just a performance.”

Dance captures an expression, an emotion in time and translates it into movement. It’s when your favorite song comes on the radio and your heart feels light and happy that you start dancing about while doing the dishes. It doesn’t matter if the dirty stack is higher than the clean, and that suds are now splattered across the kitchen walls, or if your style of dancing is like a little Lego man, it is a manifestation of your thankfulness and praise to God. It is the joy in your heart that motivates the movements, and that is what dance is all about here.

If you see Mary at Trinity church and ask her what dance means to her, you will find her enthusiasm contagious. Her new book, Dance is Prayer in Motion, is inspirational and expounds on her views. “To everything, there is a season…and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes. 3:1 and 4). As a church, we are entering a new season with pastor Todd, and taking the time to dance in our own way to praise the Lord!

DonnaWalkerBy Alexandra Trefrey

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