The last time my church sang together was March 8, the second Sunday in Lent. Since then, my singing has consisted of one backyard, physically distant, “Happy Birthday” and my lone voice following the congregation’s pre-recorded music on the screen.
With stay-at-home orders being lifted across much of the U.S. and Canada, churches are thinking about what it will look like to open their doors again. Yet because the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us, it is up to churches to consider how to do so safely.
One of the most potent ways we cope with hardship is by singing and praying together. Amid the loss of in-person gathering, congregations have shown a tremendous amount of creativity, whether worshiping via video conference platforms such as Zoom, livestreaming a service, or pre-recording the service.
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Never thought there would be Sundays without singing.
Like churches across Canada, ours has been shuttered as a precaution against the novel coronavirus. I understand why this must be, but I sure miss getting together and joining our voices.
In the past few weeks, it’s likely you’ve seen a video of people singing together virtually.
When the members of Winnipeg’s Prairie Voices choir had to cancel their 20th anniversary concert as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they channeled their disappointment into this video.
In the 1980s, Ken Nafziger drew inspiration from publisher and camp association president Levi Miller, and began leading a music retreat at Laurelville.
“I turned the key and the stillness of the morning was shattered by the uneven rumbling of the engine. Everything was ready for the day’s work. In a few minutes, the pickup would drive onto the farmyard and empty its load of Mexican labourers. But for now I was alone. I eased the clutch out and the tractor lurched forward, pulling the portable packing shed behind it into the orchard.
Growing up, Cedar Klassen loved singing hymns.
The new worship and song collection for Mennonite Church U.S.A. and MC Canada will be called Voices Together.
I’ll be honest right from the beginning: when it comes to music in worship, I’m a hymn-person. Always have been. Especially as a youth, when everyone assumed that because of my age I must be a fan of praise-and-worship music! It’s one of the things that I love about worshipping in a Mennonite congregation: the sense of echoing the faith of those who have gone before us in Christian history, the evocative, poetic theologies of several verses of carefully crafted lyrics, and, of course, the rich, four-part harmonies, blending many distinct voices into a communal act of praise.