“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” is one of the most cherished Christian hymns. Old West Church opened the April 8, 2012 Easter morning worship service by singing this congregational hymn. The worship service offered a variety of artistic expressions allowing members of the Old West to bring their talents to the altar of God.
The Liturgical dance titled “Finding the Empty Tomb,” choreographed by Dr. Ingrid Smyer, invited worshipers in a symbolic gesture to embrace the future that “God has planned for each one of us through the risen Christ.”
The Old West Singers offered an anthem titled “All Heaven Declares” written by Noel Richards, Trisha Richards and Tom Fettke. The singing was emotionally charged and well-balanced. The congregation warmly accepted this song and after the service many worshipers expressed their gratitude to the choir for the emotionally elevating experience.
The Praise Band joined organ and piano music in accompanying congregational hymns and also introduced to the congregation two new Easter thematic songs: ” God Is Able” by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan and “Overcome” by Jon Egan.
Organist Robert Byrd skillfully played wonderful prelude and postlude songs and also accompanied soloist Bethany Worrell during the Communion.
Not only did adults bring their artistic gifts to the Glory of God on this Easter morning, but children also offered their artwork. In collaboration with the Faith and Arts Center, Jihun Yoo, the Director of the Children’s Ministry at Old West Church, presented exhibition of children’s artwork accompanied by theological interpretation.
It was wonderful to celebrate Easter surrounded by the beauty of music, dance, and art all devoted to the glory of the Risen Lord.
Looking retrospectively at the Spiritual Renewal at Old West Church in Boston in December of 2011, I have to admit that this event surpassed all of my expectations because of its spiritual extensiveness. Not only did we experience the powerful preaching of Dr. Mary E. Moore, Dean of Boston University School of Theology, Rev. Martin D. McLee, District Superintendent United Methodist Church, and Bishop Peter. D. Weaver, New England Conference UMC, but we also had the opportunity to meet sisters and brothers in Christ from neighboring United Methodist Churches. Three evenings of passionate worship transformed many of the participants and opened new horizons of faith.
As Minister of Music and Arts at Old West Church I’d like to reflect on the music that became a vital part of the Spiritual Renewal. While developing the musical aspect for this event I was looking for collaboration with other churches. Members of St. Andrews UMC in Jamaica Plain and their Musical Director Lee R. Soto became actively involved in planning sessions and common rehearsals. Old West Church’s Praise Band was happy to collaborate with St. Andrews Church’s musicians and this common work was inspiring for both groups.
We also decided to invite at least one professional musical group. “New England Gospel Choir” sang during the first evening of the Spiritual Renewal. Their singing brought a lot of beauty and was moving for the worshipers and the preacher of the evening, Dr. Mary E. Moore. The group helped the congregation immerse into the mood of repentance and contemplation that resonated with Dr. Mary E. Moore’s message. Rev. Martin D. McLee delivered the sermon on the second evening of the event. He brought to the congregation a message about healing and restoration. Fast and dynamic rhythms of the Hispanic music, presented by the St. Andrews Church Praise Band, helped worshipers to transition from the mood of repentance to healing and restoration.
The concluding worship service of the Spiritual Renewal was devoted to praise and commitment. Bishop Weaver’s captivating sermon was the center of the worship service. During this service we were blessed by a variety of music that included different styles. The Boston University School of Theology Seminary Singers presented a deep and complex program that prepared the congregation to hear the Word. After the preaching, the Old West Praise Band uplifted the congregation by involving all participants to sing contemporary Christian music.
In conclusion, the Spiritual Renewal brought together numerous congregations and allowed Christians to share their common values leading them closer to God and to each other.
Dr. Olga Lipina
Minister of Music and Arts at Old West Church
Remembering Japan – A Benefit for the Victims of the Earth presented by the Old West Church, United Methodist, and Old West Organ Society
The Fundraiser for the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami that occurred March 2011 was held on November 9 2011. It was offered by the Congregation of the Old West Church and Old West Organ Society.
Music for this recital was presented both by the excellent Fisk organ and a Japanese flute. We’ll also heard Japanese poetry and saw some Japanese art. There was a reception after the recital.
Money raised at this fundraiser was transferred to Kayo Tatebe, a concert pianist who has raised a good amount of money for Sendai over the past year; she was born there and still has a number of connections with the city.
On the 20 of February at 1:30 pm there was a photo exhibit at Old West Church. Sean Sanger presented a series of photographs devoted to the presence of beauty in our lives.
The author of the exhibit sees beauty as an integral part of God’s creation that waits to be seen and admired by all of us. Sean gives perspective on his photography by saying: “Beauty is all around us and can often be found in unexpected places. It can be man made or a fleeting seasonal moment created by Mother Nature. Most of us just need to slow the pace of our hectic lives and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. To quote Confucius, “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”. Hopefully presented images will tempt each of us to slow down and see the beauty in our lives.”
Sundays Morning Worship Services Service - 11:00am
Prayer - 10:00am