FUMC Jasper

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Music Notes and Musings

August 2017 Newsletter

“There’s Always Room for More!”

We are fortunate to have a group of well-established music ensembles in our church. For vocal music, we have the Chancel Choir and our children’s group, “Music Factory.” We have two instrumental ensembles, the “Wesley Ringers” (adult handbells) and “Amazing Grace” (children’s handchimes). But let’s not limit ourselves! There is always room for more in our family of music groups.

I’d like to throw out a few ideas to kick-start things. We have a gap in our music ministry. Kids are covered, adults are covered. What’s missing? Youth opportunities! There are any number of forms that youth music could take. Youth ensembles in the music ministry can take a more traditional form, such as a youth choir or youth handbells. But other ideas might work well, too. Maybe a few of our youth want to start a small vocal ensemble. There are plenty of opportunities for our youth to be a part of leading our worship through music – Youth Sundays, special music in regular Sunday worship, and the other musical events that take place throughout the church year.

We are a Music AND Arts Ministry after all, so what about some of the other arts? Maybe Readers Theater, for example. Do you have an idea for ministry in the arts? Share it with us!

I’m positive that we have some adult singers who don’t have the time to commit to weekly Chancel Choir rehearsals, but who would enjoy being in a small ensemble (male or female quartet or trio, mixed group, etc.).  We can do that!

And, as always, there’s the opportunity to sing in the annual Christmas Cantata. Rehearsals will begin in September on a brand new cantata, “The Christmas Story” by Tom Fettke.

Here’s the bottom line: let’s be creative! We have so much talent in our congregation.  The music ministry at FUMC doesn’t have to consist only of what we already have. Our choirs and instrumentalists are the backbone of our ministry, and we want to see them continue to grow, but we also want to explore and create additional avenues for worship through song.

If you have an idea that you would like to share with the music staff, feel free to send me an email (music@fumcjasper.org) or talk to me sometime about it. We would love to hear from you!

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1)


July 2017 Newsletter

July will be a month of planning and preparation for the Music and Arts Ministry. As we prepare for the return of the Chancel Choir in August, along with our other music ensembles (Wesley Ringers, Amazing Graces, and Music Factory), we would love to see more of our congregation – of all ages! – involved in our programs. There is a place for everyone in the musical life of our church!  Chancel Choir rehearsals will resume on Wednesday, August 2nd, at 6:45 pm. We’ll have a chair and music folder for you!

In his book, “The Magnetic Music Ministry,” author Bill Owens outlines the characteristics of a dynamic church music program. In this article, I’d like to look at the first of these:  enhance worship.

“The principal role of the music ministry is to enhance the worship experience and thereby move persons into a closer relationship with God. In vocal music this occurs when effective Christian texts are delivered through motivating musical interpretations.” So often, and through no fault of the worshiper, we become complacent in the music aspect of our worship experience. It can happen in a well-know and oft-sung hymn, or a new chorus that we don’t know and tune out. Or maybe we’re just waiting for an anthem or offertory to entertain us. Our hymns of faith, passed down through generations of believers, are more than songs to be sung in the order of service. I encourage you to take a moment before each service begins and reflect. Read the bulletin, leaf through the hymnal, find the day’s hymns. Read the words and seek relevance for your worship experience or for your daily life. There is deep truth and meaning in so many of these songs of the church. When the worship music is new or unfamiliar, read the words before the service and think about the message and meaning. While singing a new melody may not be comfortable for you, it is still possible to find a moment of worship in the words. During the anthem or other special music, listen actively. Consider the words and their meaning. We need to always remember that as church musicians (choir members, soloists, instrumentalists), we are “presenting,” rather than “performing.” Our music is an offering to God, and an aid to personal worship. To those in the congregation: can the music evoke an emotional response? Yes. Should it be a source of entertainment? No.  Now, can I get an “amen?”

Our desire as a music staff is to continue to provide and lead meaningful worship in song, glorifying the great God whom we serve and who loves us. Music at First United Methodist Church will continue to be grounded in Christian faith, proclaiming the Word of God. We will seek God’s truth in as many musical forms and styles as we can!

One final word: watch for the Music & Arts mailing that will be coming soon. It has more information about our music programs at FUMC and how you can be a part of them!

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1)


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