‘Season of Thanks’ concert Sunday
Posted: November 17, 2012
The Winchester Star
Winchester — The sweet sound of people of different backgrounds coming together in song will mark the introduction of a new community choir this weekend.
The Fellowship of Churches in Jesus Christ Community Choir will have its debut concert, a “Season of Thanks,” at 5 p.m. Sunday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 1317 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester. Admission is by freewill offering.
About 40 members from six congregations in Winchester and the surrounding communities have come together to form the choir, said the Rev. Delbert Hicks, choir director. The group has been rehearsing for the last 10 weeks to prepare for the concert.
The choir is the most visible evidence of the fellowship, a partnership formed between the six churches to provide support to one another, Hicks said.
“The choir is going to provide all of the music to support any future events that will be hosted by this particular fellowship” said Hicks of Winchester, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Berryville.
The fellowship was formed in April 2011 by Bishop Bobby Hudnall, pastor of Life in the Word Church of Jesus Christ Inc. in White Post. The idea started as a way for pastors, who often feel isolated, to share their experiences.
The concert is the first event involving the congregations of the pastors involved.
“This first concert, which we hope will be the first of many, was developed to bring true spiritual fellowship between our churches that are actually in the fellowship,” Hudnall said. “It also gives an opportunity to introduce to other pastors who are seeking fellowship what we are about.”
When organizers were planning the choir, they “didn’t just want to sound like a black choir,” Hudnall said. “We wanted this choir to be representative of the body of Christ, which is multicultural.”
The choir, like the fellowship, is made up of men, women and children of different races, ages and denominations, Hicks said. It is meant to be a “symbol of unity” and the way churches can “reach beyond tradition and embrace one another.”
As such, the music will encompass different religious traditions, he said. Some of the songs the choir will sing are “Stronger” and “As Long as I Have Breath,” which are contemporary Christian; “Revelations 21” and “Thank You Lord,” traditional gospel; “Hear My Prayer,” gospel, and “Even Me,” a hymn.
The choir has been rehearsing Friday nights, rotating between the different churches so as not to burden any particular one, Hicks said.
“The pastors have been really great at opening their doors and allowing us to come in and use their facilities for practice for the musicians,” he said.
Hopefully, the choir will be able to expand and become a recognizable presence in the community, using music as a ministry, Hicks said.
Hudnall sees the choir’s potential to be an inspiration to people and show them they can be part of something that he thinks will “bless a lot of people.”
Providing support, love and hope always was the intention of the fellowship, Hudnall said.
About six years ago, he was approached by a pastor who had broken from his denomination and felt completely isolated and in need of fellowship with other pastors. Hudnall shared some of his feelings of isolation, but he was busy building his church and didn’t follow through.
Then, last year, Hudnall went through his own season of being “depressed and lonely” and thought “pastors should not have to go through this by themselves. I felt a need to connect. I started reaching out.”
Out of those connections came the Fellowship of Churches in Jesus Christ. The other pastors involved are the Rev. Gilbert Mack of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, the Rev. Mark Kennerly of Impact Christian Center, the Rev. Mark Carey of Fellowship Bible Church, the Rev. Lyndon Elliott of Living Faith Fellowship, and the Rev. Aldine Musser of Stephens City Mennonite.
“Many things can happen in a church that can be made easier by having other pastors or congregations there to help,” Hudnall said.
“Where one church may be going through something they have never been exposed to, another church may have gone through that same problem and be able to give advice or guidance to either deal with the problem or come out of it altogether,” he said.
The “Season of Thanks” concert will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 1317 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester. Admission is by freewill offering.
For more information on the concert or the Fellowship of Churches in Jesus Christ, call 540-336-4868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com