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Emily Scott ’06 M.Div.: from Marquand Chapel to Riverside Church

By Patricia Kriss '09 M.Div.

It's been said that Marquand Chapel is a place where the paths of many different denominations converge to form a place that makes a unified family of students, faculty and staff alike. For Emily Scott '06 M.Div., it was at Marquand that she took her first steps toward her dream job. “I love to work with other people,” Scott says. “At Marquand, I was taught to do that very specifically.”

Working with people is something that Emily will be doing in abundance from this point on at a place where, as at Yale Divinity School, the world and its denominations often converge. She's the newly appointed director of worship at New York's famed Riverside Church.

Emilie ScottAs director of worship, Scott is responsible for planning Riverside's two Sunday worship services – the morning service and a second called “Space for Grace” – to make sure the liturgy is in place. In addition to coordinating with the communion stewards and ushers, she also works directly with the Worship Commission, composed of laypersons who oversee worship life at the church.

Scott credits her time at YDS as paving the way to her new role. She served for two years as chapel minister and as liturgical coordinator at Marquand and at Battell Chapel, the University's principal worship space. Her work with professors Siobhán Garrigan and Patrick Evans, she notes, gave her an incredibly rich education in ecumenical worship. “Gaining exposure to a variety of denominations, especially in terms of worship service in chapel, is an incredibly rare opportunity, and one I could never duplicate. It was completely formational for me in every way.” Scott credits her years in the classrooms and halls of YDS, where people of vastly different backgrounds and polities are brought together, with making her career path possible.

What lies ahead for Scott is a position that will fully employ the skills learned at YDS. Developing a program of whole congregation education about worship will be an important goal. “I'm someone who really appreciates collaboration, which is something I learned at YDS.” Of her work with musicians and others, she notes that “artists are prone to love collaboration, but it's not necessarily a natural impulse for all church persons. I view my role as bringing a spirit of creativity and artistry to the church toward a culture of collaboration, instead of letting people get entrenched in their own areas.”

Innovation and creativity bear some interesting fruits and, from Oct. 4-6, people of all backgrounds will have a chance to share those fruits, to enrich their churches' music programs through a workshop that grew out of Scott's collaboration while an intern in 2005. Music That Makes Community will be presented at St. Paul's Chapel in New York for people of all musical backgrounds. It was put together by The New Music Project. Scott serves as Coordinator for The New Music Project , which in part rose out of her brainstorming as an intern with the rector at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.

The October program will provide leadership skills for people of all skill levels, especially those who may not have an accompanist for their church services. Midweek services, Sunday evening services or those held outside or in unusual settings are especially relevant to the workshop, as people will learn to lead in small groups and to lead congregational songs on their own. This coming spring, The New Music Project will be putting out a hymnal of never-before published music, titled Music by Heart (paperless music for evening worship.) More information on the workshop is available by contacting All Saints Company at 415-558-6958.

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