Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Worship Music for Reconciliation and Justice

By a fantastic stroke of good fortune I stumbled across New City Fellowship's music conference in St Louis. It has the intriguing title "Worship Music for Reconciliation and Justice." The lucky part is I am actually in St. Louis teaching at Covenant Seminary for a couple of days.
The New City Fellowships are a group of congregations in the PCA that are deliberately multi-ethnic. They each--apparently--work to develop their own worship music that is authentic to their congregations. This means not just embracing different styles but also different languages. The New City Fellowship congregations in St Louis include a significant number of West African immigrants (I met people from Congo and Liberia this evening).
I gatecrashed the first evening session and recorded the worship group Voice of Africa from St Louis. Here is a sample. It is Brule En Moi (click to listen)
And here is there opening number Yeasu-way Mar-waya (click to listen)
It was incredibly moving to sing in this congregation.
I spoke with Elaine Ramos, the director of music at New City Fellowship in Fredricksburg, VA. I asked her if it was demanding to have a congregation sing in different languages -- she answered that of course it was but "praise is a sacrifice."