A collaborative effort was made between Strengthening the Black Church 21st Century (SBC21) partnership with the Nashville District churches, Tennessee Annual Conference and the United Methodist Church to present The Sounds of CHRISTmas worship experience through the arts. On December 5 at the Untied Methodist Publishing House, 2222 Rosa Parks Vantage Way Metro Center, many gathered in the W.T. Handy Chapel to watch a performance depicting the birth of Jesus Christ and its meaning.
Performers came together from several churches in order to create this production as they worked tirelessly for many weeks, rehearsing for this spectacular night.
The program began with a call to worship followed by the singing of Christmas congregational hymns and a greeting and prayer by Rev. Bettye P. Lewis, director of Connectional Ministries, Tennessee Annual Conference.
Eight weeks ago, seven local churches and a campus ministry in the SBC 21 Project decided to “build unity, fellowship and cohesiveness in spreading the gospel message of he Advent Season,” as stated by the planners. After much planning, prayer, creativity rehearsals and network building The Sounds of CHRISTmas and the Matthew 25 Missions Project was born.
“Tonight we accomplish what has not been done before. We have come together. We have felt the love and the unity of purpose necessary to be disciples. We have made new friends among all ages. We have found out how much we are all different, yet have so much in common. We are so grateful for the many people who have helped shape this initiative by pooling our resources together and sharing form our hearts,” according to the partners.
“Through the Holy Spirit, barriers have been broken down, lives have been changed and the holy story of the birth of Christ—the real meaning of this season has been proclaimed. We can’t wait to see what God will do with us next.”
The Sounds of CHRISTmas was conceived and directed by William ‘Bill’ Crimm and co-directed by Wilbert ‘Wil’ Taylor. With a long list of cast members who sang and an extraordinary live band, directed by Leonard Morton, Jr., the presentation was a great success.
“The play had a very professional feel with a great message in telling the story of the birth of Jesus,” said an observer. “We look forward to whatever will be presented next year.”
A fellowship reception was held in the Lakeview Lobby for the cast and others in affiliation with the aforementioned partnerships.
SBC 21 Partner Church Nashville District includes: Braden UMC, Rev. Shirley Rayford, senior pastor; Brooks Memorial UMC, Rev. Shirley Rayford, senior pastor; Dixon Memorial UMC, Rev. Tamika Robertson, senior pastor; Gordon Memorial UMC, Rev. Charles White, Jr., senior pastor; Patterson Memorial UMC, Rev. Robert Jordan, senior pastor; Seay-Hubbard UMC, Rev. Ken Edmondson, senior pastor; Clark Memorial UMC, Rev. Herbert L. Lester, senior pastor; The Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry TSU, Rev. Michele Morton, campus pastor.