Last Sunday, the roof of St John’s nearly came off with the sound of a 50-strong adult choir leading us in our sung worship. Bellevue Presbyterian church choir were touring the UK and finished their two-week programme with us at our 10.30am service. Our St John’s regulars were treated to six songs expertly arranged and sung – with a variety of contemporary songs, hymns and choral music. The choir began with Amazing Grace and finished with Ride on King Jesus. Scott Dean, the choir’s director for 30 years, was leading the choir for the final time before his retirement and so the choir sang an extra song at the end called “Farewell” – a fitting way to say goodbye to us, and goodbye to him.
After the service, the choir came around to the hall for a light buffet lunch. Many St John’s with St Mary’s people were on hand to serve and also chat to our guests. Some of the guests commented how special it was to visit a normal church community and worship together and share communion after having visited prestigious cathedrals and halls. Several of the choir noted how our church seems welcoming and also has a wide variety of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds – a reality sadly rare in parts of North America where many churches unofficially segregated and do not always reflect the diversity of their communities.
Many St John’s regulars were inspired by the music – it seemed to remind us that what we do on a Sunday morning fits into a bigger story, a bigger reality, a bigger sound. We were receiving the gift of singing from others, and joining with them and with countless other communities around the world in offering our own praise to God. There was talk again of developing our own singing – and if you would like to be involved in drawing together a group of singers more regularly, please do be in touch!
The choir very kindly made a financial donation to the church and also presented us with some gifts including tour T-shirts and CDs of some of their recordings. If you would be interested in having one of these – let me know by email. They will be distributed on a first come, first served basis!
And finally, many thanks to the many people from St John’s with St Mary’s who worked hard behind the scenes to draw together a wonderful occasion.