A Community That Sings - Issue #202 (July 10, 2014)
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Old North United Methodist Church in Evansville, Indiana, is a mid-sized congregation with a heart for worship that is enhanced by its love of congregational singing, both a cappella and with well-accompanied pipe organ and other instruments.
The vitality and importance of congregational worship and song are fed by the church’s renovated worship space, excellent acoustic and aesthetic surroundings, and the fact that they regularly use all three of the hymnals in the church’s pew racks: The United Methodist Hymnal, The Faith We Sing, and Worship & Song.
The church has a gifted Director of Music Ministries, Daniel Craig, who also serves as a professor of music at the University of Southern Indiana and frequently creates worship and music materials that are incorporated into the congregation’s worship. His dual church–school role has provided opportunities to bring the community together in music, worship, and concert in the church sanctuary.
The congregation has used its combined assets of a passion for music, good facilities, and people with connections to the local college to reach out to the wider community. The church, college, and community have contributed to worship and concerts featuring major musical works of the classic past and the challenging present. For example, the church hosted a large First Nations Service that included newly composed music and involved the congregation, community, and a local Native American pastor and congregation. The church has also coordinated and hosted a community Taizé service for the season of Lent.
Old North UMC is thus the site of several communities: the local congregation, combined college and church, and a truly inclusive and engaging community of those within the surrounding area of Evansville.
Questions for Discussion
- What are your congregation’s assets? How can these assets be combined to reach out into your community?
- How does your congregation’s experience of worship and music foster a sense of community?