Site search Web search
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:
JANUARY ONLINE EXPRESSIONS EDITION
Letters to the editor:
End of Letters to the editor!
Sean B King
The Music & Art Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a large number of CD’s of Christian music. They have chosen to interfile what is called "Gospel Music" and what is commonly called "Contemporary Christian Music". Those terms are euphemistic for a racial division of worship music. The cliché is that Sunday at 11 a.m. is the most segregated hour in America.
First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh has made deliberate efforts to overcome that trend. In the 1850’s and 1860’s the church took a prominent stand against slavery, most especially by inviting Frederick Douglas to speak. More recently when deciding to purchase new hymnals, the congregation made sure to pick a hymnal that has contributions from many cultures- Africa, India, etc.
At First Baptist Church and many other settings, music is picked by a small group of members. There is a danger that music will be based on their individual tastes rather than guidance of the Holy Spirit. By deliberately choosing music from other traditions this danger can be minimized.
One goal of worship is to bring worshippers into the presence of God as a group. Throughout Scripture we see that God calls peoples to Himself. By celebrating God in different ways, we can learn to appreciate people from different backgrounds.
We reflect the call to reconciliation by deliberately being multiethnic. We prepare for carrying the ministry of reconciliation into the world. We become a picture of heaven where some from every tribe and nation worship. We become a house of prayer for all people.
For reasons of building community and for reasons of evangelism, musical choice should be as wide as possible. Let’s not limit the worship of God by human means.
Expressions of praise give audience hope
Where were you on Sunday November 11th at 6pm? Well if you were in the mood to give thanks and praise to God through singing, dancing, and step, then you were probably at the Anointed steps of Faith, "Expressions of Praise" extravaganza. You better believe that’s where I was!
At 6:30 p.m, the show opened with a word of prayer in which we asked God for strength for all the performers, and asked that he be with everyone that night. I prayed that God would speak to me, because like many who were present that night, I needed something from God. After the moment of prayer, a talented trio consisting of Shabren Harvey, Nicole Cofer, and Darrel Manney, blessed us with song.
Shanea D. Leonard a Pitt graduate who plans to attend seminary in Pittsburgh, introduced each group participating in the ASF show. "It was a great ministry, and I pray that people got something from it", she said at the close of the night.
Anointed Steps of Faith Step team gave a magnificent performance. Although only one third of the group performed at any given time, they had enough energy for the whole crowd! The entire audience was clapping, whooping, hollering, and moving to the beat; "If you love Jesus let me hear you say ‘OH YEAH!’" "OH YEAH!"
"Anointed Steps of Faith is a great organization. I love thanking God, and praising God. I can’t sing or dance, but step is a gift God gave me, and I’m glad I joined ASF", said Nicole Alston, a Pitt freshman.
After one step performance, a group member stopped and listened to the group’s complaints about being tired and sore. She wasn’t happy about it and said, "What do you mean you’re tired? Was Jesus tired when he was on the cross, and he had his hands and feet nailed? Did he say, ‘Oh God I am just too tired to save these people’?"
The rest of the group answered an emphatic "NO" and then they did the step ‘double time’, which meant faster and louder! I think she made a very important point because sometimes we as Christians get tired, and we want to rest or even give up. But we have to remember that everything we do should be done for the Glory of God. Jesus did not get too tired, and God never gets tired of helping us through hard times.
After this upbeat display I was forced to sit down, however, I was not disappointed because the Anointed Mime group led by Parish Davenport appeared on stage. This time instead of stomping and clapping, I was crying. I was so moved by the music "Thank you Jesus", and the talented mimes.
"Before we performed, I prayed that all flesh be removed so that they might not see anointed mime, but Jesus. He used us, and I thank him for showing up and showing out", said Tarah King, an Anointed mime group member.
Through facial expressions and body movements, Anointed mime conveyed a touching message about having faith in God, being lifted by God, and giving thanks to God. The song "Silent tears" was especially important to me because there are times when friends and family members can’t understand my pain, but as the song said Jesus hears my ‘silent tears’. Thank you Anointed Mime.
Later, Black Dance Workshop made a stunning appearance, followed by an explosion of dancers. It was a HipHop number, which had the crowd moving in their seats and standing in the aisle. "B-D-W!!" The audience chanted. As most Pitt students know, BDW has an excellent reputation for dances ranging from Gospel and African dance, to ballet and HipHop. Thank you BDW for showing up to praise God with such remarkable dancing! New to the line-up this year was a group from Cleveland, Ohio called the Historic Greater Friendship Community Drill Team. The group consisted of two boys, and five girls ranging in age from Elementary school to Junior High. They marched out onto the stage chanting, and upon their leaders instruction they recited Ephesians chapter six from memory. Wait, that’s not all; not only did they recite the entire chapter, they acted it out! They marched back off the stage as boldly as they came, but not before they sang "Jesus loves me".
Many people were excited about new comers performing on stage because like Will Stephens said, "The show was better because there was more of a variety this year, and it was a lot better overall."
‘God’s Grace’, a group formed in late March of 1999, praised God with song before the night was over. Although only four of the eight members were present, they blessed the audience with a song titled "Over the Hill is home".
I was very pleased to know that this talented group had chosen to praise the Lord with their voices, instead of cutting a record deal to put out HipHop, or R&B; although they kept the R&B/ HipHop flavor, however, make no mistake about that!
"I had a great time", said Charles Faison after his performance in Anointed Steps of Faith, "It was a beautiful evening."
I agree that it was a beautiful night, as well as emotional. I was not the only one searching my pockets for tissues. If it weren’t for the chairs, I bet half of the audience would have been dancing across the hard wood floors.I would personally like to thank ASF for putting on a show that was not only entertaining, but that allowed us to praise God together.
"ASF was truly a blessing, I feel like all my burdens have been lifted", said Sia Sankoh, a student at Pitt. Like myself she was moved by all the performances and she agreed that God was present on Sunday night.
I agreed with her when she said, "The way I came in is not the same way I am going to leave."