Imagine 3,500 people gathered for a conference to learn about and support congregational singing. That's how many people were gathered in Nashville for the Sing! conference, put on by the hymn-writers Keith and Kristyn Getty. It was held in a huge church complex. In the picture, people gather for the opening of the conference.
The Singing Group we have started here in our parishes fits in exactly with what the conference is encouraging congregations to do: to help people learn to sing with enthusiasm and to pay attention to what we sing. Here are some main points of the conference:
1) Worship is for everyone gathered for a service. We are not meant to be spectators or consumers, but enthusiastic participants. That means we don’t sit back and watch other people perform, and we don’t sit back and refuse to take part. All of us are meant to participate, including in the singing.
2) It matters what we sing. Songs should be of excellent quality in both the music and the words, and they should be sung with enthusiasm, from the heart.
3) Theology matters — meaning what we are saying about God. The songs we sing should express good, sound theology. They should focus on God.
4) The Psalms in the Bible are important. Psalms are hymns and prayers to God — they were Jesus’ songbook, so to speak — and they express to God the full range and depth of people’s experience, both good and bad. Next year’s conference is on the Psalms.
So we will keep singing here in our parishes.